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Armstrong may not have done enough to reduce punishment, says legal expert

posted 18 Jan 2013, 05:23 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 18 Jan 2013, 05:24 ]

Top lawyer says Lance Armstrong's lifetime ban will only be reduced if he reveals more names, and says he faces a raft of law suits.

 LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (JANUARY 18, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Lance Armstrong has not done enough yet to justify any reduction in his lifetime ban from sporting competition, a leading sports lawyer said on Friday (January 18).

London-based Andrew Nixon's comments came after Armstrong confessed to doping in all seven of his Tour de France victories during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

There has been speculation that Armstrong decided to admit to using performance enhancing drugs because he wants to resume his sporting career as a triathlete.

But speaking to Reuters Television, Nixon, who works for Thomas Eggar LLP, said Armstrong would need to reveal more about his doping history - and those who helped him - to receive any mitigation from the United States Anti Doping Agency, which imposed the ban.

"It is not uncommon for governing bodies to reduce sporting sanctions in circumstances where the athlete is able to provide relevant, useful and important information, but, no, I think in this circumstances he probably hasn't gone far enough," he said. "He would need to provide a lot more detail and he needs to explain exactly what has gone on go into more detail in relation to the characters involved, the names involved and how this network was created."

Armstrong's decision to tell the truth after years of speculation that he was a drug cheat has left him open to a raft of lawsuits, both in the USA and abroad, and Nixon said organisers of races the 41-year-old had appeared in could now be consulting their lawyers.

"I have no doubt that event organisers and competition organisers for cycling events will be exploring their options," said Nixon.

"When an athlete enters a race, enters any sort of competition, he enters into an agreement, enters into a contract with that event organiser, and obviously doping, taking Performance Enhancing Drugs, is a very serious breach of those competition regulations so that in itself may well open up a claim potentially for breach of contract."

Among those already suing him is British newspaper The Sunday Times, which settled a libel case Armstrong brought against it in 2004.

Nixon said the publication now finds itself in a strong legal position.

"I think it does strengthen it," he said of Armstrong's interview. "I think it it was strong before last night's confessional interview. As I understand the Sunday Times paid Lance Armstrong in and around 2004 around 300,000 pounds. Obviously they paid that money based upon representations, or what we now know to be misrepresentations by Lance Armstrong. They now would have a good case to potentially recover those monies on the basis Lance Armstrong has been unjustly enriched as a consequence of those representations during any settlement negotiations."

Nixon added that Armstrong's legal position in his home country will also have been weakened.

"Yes, as I understand it there are a number of ongoing actions taking place in America," he said. "There is the whistle blowing case in relation to monies paid out to the US Postal Services Team. And it will inevitably strengthen the claims of sponsors, disappointed sponsors, and indeed an insurance company that has paid out money to Mr Armstrong in the past."