November 23 - Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson (pictured) has backed the British Olympic Association (BOA) and their chairman Colin Moynihan in their controversial war of words with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as they look to keep their lifetime Olympic ban on drug cheats in place for London 2012.

The BOA look set for a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) battle with WADA to keep their ruling in place but the dispute has turned ugly in recent weeks after Moynihan labelled the organisation "toothless" in their fight against drug cheats.

WADA hit back saying that Moynihan is misguided and that the BOA ruling simply goes against the global code agreed upon by the CAS last month but Robertson has refused to condemn the outspoken behaviour of the BOA chairman.

"I think this is a fight worth having," said Robertson here.

"The BOA is an organisation that represents the athletes and the athletes in this country overwhelmingly back the BOA's position.

"The BOA are not doing this because they are bored; they are doing it because its constituent members, the athletes, want it to happen.

"Anybody who has been involved in sports wants to see doping cheats face the severest possible sanctions."

Robertson added that even though the BOA may end up losing their battle to WADA and be forced to change their ruling, he said it is worth them fighting their corner nonetheless.

"I don't know what is going to happen in CAS but it's a fight worth having and they have my support in fighting it," he said.

"I am entirely comfortable with the position the BOA have taken.

"As the Minister it is my job to represent the views of the athletes and London 2012 Organising Committee and I think they are right."

The BOA is testing its eligibility rule in the CAS after WADA ruled the 19-year-old rule was "non-compliant" with the WADA code.

It is likely that the decision to go against the BOA, which would open the way for cyclist David Millar and sprinter Dwain Chambers to compete at the London 2012 Olympics next summer.

By Tom Degun