Britain's anti-doping chief fears the ongoing row over the British Olympic Association being forced to scrap their lifetime ban for drugs could detract from the work that is taking place to make the London Games the cleanest ever.
Andy Parkinson, chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, said his organisation are pushing for longer bans for doping offences but that legal issues made it unlikely there could be a four-year minimum ban - instead of two years - for a first serious doping offence.
Parkinson, speaking after a war of words broke out between the BOA and the World Anti-Doping Agency following the BOA's failed court case to keep the lifetime ban, said: "The danger with the current debate is that public confidence in the system is damaged. I would hate for that to happen as we have never worked so hard."
He added: "We have the greatest opportunity to have this as the cleanest Games ever - bearing in mind the only people who can guarantee it to be a clean Games are the athletes themselves."
Parkinson said he had "enormous sympathy" for those British athletes who wanted a lifetime ban to be maintained but that it was more important for the whole of world sport to operate on the same basis.
Sports and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson has written to WADA on UKAD's behalf calling for changes in the code to make it easier for four-year bans to be handed out.
The BOA want to go even further and have a minimum four-year ban for a first serious offence, with national Olympic committees having some autonomy to increase sanctions further. But Parkinson said having such a minimum ban would not work.
He added: "We think there should be an opportunity for us to put in front of a panel an argument that gets you a four-year ban.
"We would like more opportunity for us to challenge an athlete caught with a serious doping agent as to why they should get less than four years.
"But I don't think we can have that as a minimum. The current regime is from a warning up to four years and that feels rights and is sustainable internationally."