* Should be focused on catching drug cheats
* Code review has already begun (Adds quotes, details)
By Steve Keating
MONTREAL, May 18 (Reuters) - The British Olympic Association (BOA) avoided possible sanctions ahead of the 2012 London Olympics when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found it code compliant on Friday.
The BOA informed WADA on Thursday, just prior to WADA's Foundation Board meeting, that it had accepted a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and revoked its rule of lifetime bans for drug cheats.
The BOA had asked CAS to mediate after WADA ruled the life ban did not comply with its global doping code, which provides for a maximum two-year ban for a first offence.
Under International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules, all countries and sports must be code compliant to take part in a Summer or Winter Games.
The CAS decision cleared the way for sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar, who have both served bans for doping, to be considered for selection to Britain's Olympic team.
WADA chief John Fahey said he was keen to put the dispute in the past and get on with the job of catching drug cheats.
"The simple fact of the matter is we have a job to do, we did our job," Fahey told reporters.
"I was always prepared to defend what I thought was ill-informed comment and I believe I had that obligation and accepted it on behalf of the thousands of anti-doping personnel around the world.
"I hope that is the end of the saga and we should be focusing on our work of catching cheats, not in court arguing about rules."
The BOA's grudging acceptance of the CAS ruling has done little to bring a truce between WADA and the British association, which has indicated it will lead a push for tougher sanctions in the next overhaul of the doping code.
Despite ruling against the BOA, the case exposed an appetite in some quarters for harsher punishment for drug cheats.
The WADA code has already undergone one review and the anti-doping agency has just begun a second.
Fahey said the first submissions had already been received and a first draft discussion would be released on June 1.
The review process will continue for 13 months before final recommendations are made and the changes voted on at a Foundation Board a meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa in November 2013.
The revised code would then go into effect on January 1, 2015.
"The first draft no doubt will attract some considerable comment on the question of sanctions and we have a bit to go before we know where that finishes up," said Fahey.
"Many people want to see changes to the code and everybody has the opportunity to put submissions in.
"If the BOA has some thoughts communicate them to us and we will certainly consider them along with every other comment."
WADA reiterated that it already has four-year bans as an option but they are rarely used because such punitive sanctions are difficult to enforce.
"There is no point having harsh penalties if civil courts are likely to throw them straight out," said Fahey. (Editing by Julian Linden)