British athlete banned in Boston (and Canada, too)

The USATF masters nationals have been open to foreign athletes for decades. Pay your entry fee, prove your age, and America lets you compete. No more. Now you have to have the blessing of your national governing body. The sad case of Britain’s Anthony Treacher has come to this: Organizers of the 2007 Boston indoor nationals effectively barred Anthony from entering the March meet. And worse — Canadian masters officials told him: You’re not welcome at our outdoor nationals, either.

That’s the official word from Bill MacMackin of the Saint John Track Club, who wrote: “Mr. Treacher, We have been instructed by officials of the Canadian Masters Athletic Association to deny your registration for our championships being held in Saint John this July. Your registration will be cancelled and charges to your credit card reversed.”
Upon learning of these rejections, on May 18 I wrote to several Canadian masters officials, including its president, Brian Keaveney:

Hi, Brian

Anthony Treacher of UK says he sought permission to enter your Canadian masters outdoor nationals and received this note:

Mr. Treacher,

We have been instructed by officials of the Canadian Masters Athletic Association to deny your registration for our championships being held in Saint John this July.

Your registration will be cancelled and charges to your credit card reversed. ……

Bill MacMackin
Saint John Track Club
Anthony gives further details on his inquiry at:
Of course, Anthony is notorious for having been suspended by his NGB for being a pain in the butt following the incident in Linz, which I chronicled here:
Just curious: Is CMAA under some mandate to respect the suspension edicts of other NGBs? If so, where is it specified in your rules or bylaws?
This is a serious matter. I hope you will share your thoughts.
Thanks for your help.
ken stone

That same day, I also wrote to Steve Vaitones, an organizer of the Boston indoor nationals, and BCC’d the note to USATF Masters Chair Gary Snyder, USATF President Bill Roe and several others:

Hi, Steve
Anthony Treacher of UK has informed me that before this past Boston masters indoor nationals he asked you whether he might be allowed to compete. He says you never got back to him.
Is this true?
If so, why didn’t you respond?
If not, would you have allowed him to enter?
Of course, Anthony is notorious for having been suspended by his NGB for being a pain in the butt following the incident in Linz, which I chronicled here:
Just curious: Is USATF under some mandate to respect the suspension edicts of other NGBs? If so, where is it specified in USATF rules or bylaws?
This is a serious matter. I hope you will share your thoughts.
Thanks for your help.

The upshot? I received only one response — from Bill Roe, who wrote:

Treacher is not a member of USATF, and therefore cannot compete. Whether he would join to compete I don’t know. We are not bound by non-doping suspensions, but generally recognize them.

I wrote Bill back, gently pointing out that many foreigners have competed at our masters nationals. I also reiterated my question: On what legal basis would Anthony be barred from competing in a USATF masters nationals? Bill hasn’t replied.
While all this is going on, British masters officials stick to their guns. Treacher is suspended for a year. And this is what BMAF Chairman Winston Thomas wrote in his country’s masters track publication:

Many of you will be aware of the fact that the B.M.A.F have suspended an athlete for a period of one year, this athlete has written, emailed, and made several allegations about myself, our President and B.M.A.F. overall, there will be no comments from me and other members of B.M.A.F on the issue, but suffice to say that those of you that know me will be able to make sound judgement of all you may see and hear.

Anthony’s story is long and convoluted. And it keeps growing, as he continues to post on my forum and elsewhere. He certainly has been a pain in the ass of British and World Masters Athletics. But his suspension is a crock, and for U.S. and Canadian governing bodies to recognize this suspension is an outrage.
Several month ago, Anthony wrote Gary Snynder, our masters chair, for a decision on whether Anthony could enter the Orono masters outdoor nationals.
Anthony says that Gary promised a response by mid-April.
No response.
So in mid-May, Anthony wrote me with the latest chapters in his saga, and I sent the notes reprinted above.
Now a cone of silence has descended on USA and Canadian masters track. Ignore Anthony. Ignore Ken. This will all go away.
Yeah, right.
I have no power in this matter, except to raise awareness.
Here’s something to keep in mind:
From the very first masters world championships — Toronto 1975 — masters athletes have competed as individuals. David Pain and others fought the entire Canadian government to make it possible for a contingent of South Africans to compete at Toronto. Pioneers like Bob Fine also made sure that “professionals” were allowed to compete. (Coaches were considered professional in the early days.)
Only certified drug cheats should be kept out of competition.
Anthony’s crime?
He embarrassed and offended members of the British masters establishment.
That’s not a reason for banning him on British soil. It’s certainly shameful that he’s being banned on American and Canadian soil as well. But Yanks have never been known for standing up to British authority.
Oh yeah, right. 1776
But that was then. This is now.
America has changed.

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May 27, 2007

9 Responses

  1. Francos A Schiro - May 27, 2007

    This is a TOTAL disgrace. As some of you may recall a small event called the AMERICAN REVOLUTION where “we” effectivly broke away from Great Britian. “We” became our own country…(as in making our own descions etc etc etc) Anthony Treacher is a FINE athlete and more IMPORTANTLY a credit to athletics. He is NOT a “hot head” or “trouble maker” he is a man who spoke up about an UNFAIR situation and was VICTIMIZED… Now the USA and Canadian organisations go along with this??? 100% PATHETIC….but in this upside world of politics where right is wrong and wrong became right i guess i should not be so surprised. I support Anthony Treacher.

  2. Matt - May 27, 2007

    I support him too. Therefore I will not make the trip across country to Maine this year.

  3. Milt Girouard - May 27, 2007

    It is a sad commentary that if this story is true as I read it, Mr. Treacher, a 65 year(or older) man, can not and could not, run around an oval track to enjoy competing with his peers because he bruised one of his countries T&F officials ego. We’re not talking a drug offense or sabatoging another athletes chances of competing safely. He simply stood up to an official who wanted him to cheat and he did the right thing…HE IGNORED HIM. What does it take to show that we, the athletes who pay the membership dues, travel to all parts of the world and in our own countries, financially supporting these track and field associations and local economies, justifying the reason why these officials DO have a job to begin with, are the ones that have a certain amount of power to change things? Especially when the official is the one in this situation, that should be suspended or possibly banned from the sport for his lack of integrity and honesty. If everything about this situation is true, what if it happened to you… here in the USA? Would you stand for it… would you stand up for yourself? What if every one then turned their backs on you…coaches, teammates, peers, associations, then other countries…over what? Doing the right thing and showing some back bone. When DID we all start losing our back bone that we can’t at least write to the BMAF, CMAA and USATF and tell them what we think about this? We, the athletes, are what track and field is all about and never forget it. Officials need to be there to ensure the safety and happiness of the athlete as well as guiding the sport in a positive direction, financially and organizationally. Not imposing him or herself onto any athlete for the purposes showing who’s the boss or cheating. Your voice has and will always means something. If you feel Mr. Treacher was treated unjust or you just want the facts clarified a bit…write the BMAF, CMAA and USATF and see what they say. If enough write…officals will pay attention and this situaution may possibly never happen to anyone else again…including you.

  4. Tom Fahey - May 27, 2007

    We need some points clarified:
    1) Did Mr. Treacher do anything against the rules to merit a suspension? I don’t think there is a rule against being a pain in the ass, but I could be wrong.
    2) If he violated no rule, why did he receive the suspension and why didn’t the WMA do anything about it?
    3) If he violated no rule, why did the Canadian and USA not allow him to compete in the championships?
    The leadership of the various organizations serve us. As usually happens, people with administrative power develop Hubris that makes them forget their primary directive: serve the athletes.
    This is a serious matter. It is bad enough that we have self serving leaders who schedule championships to maximize tourist income for their buddies. These same people have let nationalism creep into our sport with national medal counts and manditory country uniforms. Now, apparently they are punishing an athlete who doesn’t show them proper respect.
    We deserve answers. I’m sure Mr. Treacher would wave any right of confidentiality, so that we could get the facts from the various organizations. Non response is not acceptible.
    Tom Fahey

  5. Milton Girouard - May 27, 2007

    Well stated Mr. Fahey! Any others out there that have an opinion on this subject please write and give us, the Masters Track and Field community worldwide, your idea’s on how this should be handled or not handled. Your opinion counts for something!

  6. Liz Palmer - May 27, 2007

    Would someone (Ken?) please post the snail mail and email addresses (and contact names) for the appropriate parties of the BMAF, CMAA, and USATF so that those of us wishing to support Mr. Treacher’s cause may do so? Gary Snyder for USATF, correct? How about the other organizations?

  7. Anthony Treacher - May 28, 2007

    Tom Fahey. Thanks. Here is a short (?) response to your three questions:
    1) I did nothing against the rules of competition at Linz to justify my suspension from future competition.
    On the other hand the BMAF Team Manager did offend the rules of competition at Linz. The BMAF, WMA, UKA and IAAF have sufficient evidence to discipline the BMAF Team Manager for rules violations, verbal abuse and unsportsmanlike conduct in the competition area. They have not acted on that evidence.
    2) I received my suspension because of the reasons specified in the BMAF Chairman’s “Apologize in 12 day or we suspend you” letter and the actual suspension document (attached to an e-mail “Dear Anthony Please find enclosed the details as to your suspension”).
    I do not agree with the BMAF Chairman on the veracity of his arguments in the suspension documents.
    The BMAF Chairman did not contact me or hear me before suspending me. The suspension documents gave no opportunity for appeal or redress. And as I understand it, that is the fact. There is no appeal anywhere – not to the UKA, not to the WMA, not to the IAAF, not anywhere. That may appear foreign to you Americans.
    Obviously, the main reason I was suspended is that I persisted in my complaint to the BMAF about the conduct of my own BMAF Team Manager. It was either he or I who had to go.
    Along the way, I publicized persistent wrong doing, cover-ups and insults by athletics officials. Those athletics officials range from the lowly BMAF Team Manager, BMAF President, BMAF Chairman to the Chairman of the WMA Laws and Legislation Committee and even up to the IAAF.
    They have to stop me. I understand them completely. And they have one strong card – the principle in civil law that parties in a dispute should not be named publicly before a case has been heard. I agree entirely. People should be given a chance to respond informally and offline.
    However, when I give them precisely that informal and offline chance over and over again and they do not respond at all, or months pass – suggesting that the matter is being covered up – then I am in my full right to go public. I am advised that if this business were to be conducted in a court of law (God forbid), I would win hands down.
    I risk setting an unwelcome precedent of effective, public protest that other athletes may follow in this internet age. The entire background and mentality of our officials tells them that they have to stop me. These authoritarians do not understand the civil liberty issues at all. And they do not understand that with the internet we are living in a new media age and these things cannot be hidden any more.
    The reason the WMA did not do anything about it may be found in the above and in the fact that the BMAF Chairman is also the WMA Secretary.
    3) The fact that I am suspended – “No smoke without fire” is enough for most bureaucrats.
    To the list of BMAF and WMA officers above you can add a few other potentates even up to the IAAF. Obviously the word is out. The American and Canadian offers follow my leader and here we are. Don’t forget I reminded the Canadian and American high-ups that it is impolite not to respond to an enquiry. That is enough for some potentates to feel insulted.
    About my qualification to run in the US and Canada. I am “disqualified from all masters competitions under the auspice of BMAF, both domestically and internationally.” As the Canadian Vern Christensen wrote 10 Feb “I realize that, by its terms, it doesn’t affect Canada”. Likewise it does not affect the US. Incidentally, I am not “suspended from the BMAF”. I am still “a BMAF member” in that I am a fully paid up member of my BMAF-affiliated club, the Southern Counties Veteran Athletics Club (SCVAC). If the SCVAC Chairman were to suspend me from the SCVAC, then my “BMAF membership” would end. However, that is unlikely because the SCVAC Chairman was a fellow member of that relay team at Linz. He knows the truth.
    Perhaps understandably, I am not particularly keen on running in the BMAF vest. I am also a member of an IAAF-affiliated Swedish club and the Swedish Masters has no objection to me (try them). Accordingly I applied to run at the Canadian Masters in the name of my Swedish club. The Canadians denied that registration.
    Hope I am polite and treat people better. Please tell me if I do not.
    I much appreciate your concern for me. You Americans have a sure eye for these civil liberty questions. It is very impressive.
    Of course I waive any right of confidentiality. Just give me the chance to comment on the context of anything that comes up.
    Anthony Treacher
    M65 Athlete (68 years-of-age)

  8. Dexter McCloud - May 28, 2007

    Two things immediately come to mind…
    First – From what I’ve read, there is no formal (or informal) grievance process within the BMAF. If that assessment is correct, that does not imply you could not petition the WMA directly. Given that you said that the BMAF Chairman is also the WMA Secretary, I could understand if you believe that’s a no-win situation. However, I would argue that the WMA MUST respond should you petition for redress of your grievance.
    Second – Here in America, we’ve become a very litigious society. Apparently, this has become quite an important matter to you. So, I would suggest that you take this to a civil court (or whatever the equivalent is in your country) and SUE for reinstatement. I presume that a civil court would say that they have no jurisdiction of an NGB but the precedent has been set (at least in our country) of athletes who have sued their federation.
    I’m no lawyer obviously, so I would urge you to consult with an attorney should you elect to pursue this

  9. Anthony Treacher - May 29, 2007

    Dexter, thank you
    My real “grievance” is still my original complaint against my own Team Leader for rules infringements, verbal abuse and unsportsmanlike conduct at WMA Linz. As far as I am informed, he was not disciplined. The rest like my BMAF suspension “disqualified from all masters competitions under the auspices of BMAF, both domestically and internationally” is just icing on the cake. It is of no consequence. I can still compete in masters competitions.
    Now all this WMA-BMAF Linz Scandal and its aftermath should be the concern of the BMAF and WMA officials first and then generally of all the masters athletics community. Not just for me.
    There is absolutely no reason I should engage a lawyer to impress on the BMAF and the WMA that they should clean up in their own backyard.
    There is absolutely no reason I should engage a lawyer to lift my BMAF suspension so that I can run internationally in the BMAF vest, which I do
    not want to do anyway.
    Dexter, I am very grateful for your sympathetic and constructive posting. BUT I do not think you can imagine what it would be like for me to petition the “WMA directly”. The WMA simply would NOT respond.
    Furthermore, not only is the WMA Secretary my BMAF Chairman. We also have the Chairman of the WMA Laws and Legislation Committee who has already advised “Also accept the fact, that not everybody may be perfect, or as perfect as you think you are”. So no thanks.
    Anyway, I do appreciate and respect you American masters athletes for your understanding of the civil liberties issues involved.
    So, Francis Schiro, Matt, Tom Fahey, Milt Girouard, Liz Palmer, Dexter McCloud – if you come to Sweden, look me up and I will take you around. That is a promise.

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British athlete reportedly San Sebastian drug positive

Robert and Annette Koop are reporting that a British athlete tested positive for illegal performance-enhancing drugs at the San Sebastian world meet last summer — and not a German as previously speculated. The athlete is male, I was told a few weeks ago. Still no name attached to the athlete.

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February 2, 2006