Lance Armstrong 'considering public doping confession'

Champion cyclist may come clean about drugs, but faces serious legal repercussions if he does

LAST UPDATED AT 13:32 ON Sun 6 Jan 2013

DISGRACED cyclist Lance Armstrong has told "associates and anti-doping officials" he is considering making a public confession about using banned drugs and blood transfusions because he wants to compete again. But the admission would have serious legal repercussions including a possible charge of perjury, commentators say.

A report in the New York Times says the American cyclist, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, has "even been in discussions" with the United States Anti-Doping Agency about the matter. 

Armstrong has come under immense pressure to confess, particularly from organisers of his Livestrong cancer charity who feel the organisation is being damaged by his failure to admit wrongdoing.

The 41-year-old’s lawyer has not ruled out a confession, telling the paper, "Lance has to speak for himself on that".

If Armstrong does make a public confession his lifetime ban would be overturned and he could be competing again in four years. The Sunday Telegraph says he wants to compete in triathalons and running events not cycling, but a public confession could cost him a lot more than the remnants of his tattered reputation. 

Armstrong has already lost deals worth up to $50 million as sponsors including Nike and Trek bailed out in the wake of the scandal. If he confesses, it’s also likely he would lose the $1.5 million lawsuit brought against him by The Sunday Times which is trying to recoup a $500,000 settlement and legal fees it incurred when it published claims in 2004 about the cyclist's illegal doping. 

More serious still are the "significant legal issues" Armstrong could face in America if he confesses, says the Telegraph. He could face prosecution for "misleading federal investigators", an offence carrying a jail sentence. But his biggest concern is the possible perjury charges he might face because he provided sworn testimony in a case brought against him by the Dallas insurance company SCA – one of his former sponsors – that he had never doped.

The Telegraph reports "friends" of the cyclist saying he would seek assurances from authorities that no perjury charges would be brought before he made a confession.  · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.