Australian Government: Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority

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Rules and violations

General process for a potential anti-doping rule violation

ASADA follows the principles set out under the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) to establish a process for the administration of potential anti-doping rule violations.

A positive doping test is one of eight anti-doping rule violations an athlete or support person can commit under the Code. Therefore, each potential anti-doping rule violation brought before ASADA is unique in both its circumstances and the time it takes to reach a conclusion.

ASADA’s policy is to not talk or speculate about individuals during the process as Australian legislation ensures that an athlete or support person has their privacy protected while a matter is being reviewed.

 

It is important to remember that in all potential doping cases it is the athlete’s reputation and sometimes career that is at stake.

Therefore, ASADA has a duty of care to be both thorough and accurate in every step of the process. Sanctions for violations can range from a warning, to a short suspension, to a lifetime ban.

The process set out here describes the general course of action that a matter may take through to its conclusion. The exact detail of the process will depend upon the anti-doping policy of the relevant sport.

Doping control/positive test process

Stage
Details
Public disclosure
Testing
ASADA cannot discuss specific details of its testing program with individual athletes or specific sports.
WADA-accredited lab
  • The WADA-accredited lab analyses samples in accordance with the WADA International Standard for Laboratories.
  • At no stage in the process is information identifying an athlete to a particular sample provided to the lab.
  • ASADA receives reports of adverse analytical findings (that is, a positive anti-doping test result).
 
ASADA
  • If an athlete records a positive anti-doping test result and does not have a Therapeutic Use Exemption, and the relevant international standards have been followed, ASADA notifies the athlete, national sporting organisation, international federation and WADA about the details of the potential anti-doping rule violation.
  • The athlete is also provided with details about their rights in regards to the analysis of their B sample.
  • A provisional suspension will be imposed on the athlete, in line with the relevant sport’s anti-doping policy, unless the prohibited substance involved is a ‘specified substance’ (which is more susceptible to inadvertent use, e.g. some asthma medications).
  • ASADA then presents information to the independent Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel (ADRVP) about a potential violation of the World Anti-Doping Code.
When and what we can say about an individual athlete is strictly governed by our legislation.

ASADA cannot comment on provisional suspensions unless it has received the consent of the athlete or support person involved, or is responding to public statements made by the athlete or support person.
Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel
  • The ADRVP is a decision-making body independent from ASADA whose members are appointed by the Minister for Sport.
  • The panel assesses the information presented to them by the athlete, ASADA and any other relevant party.
  • After due consideration the panel decides on whether a possible anti-doping rule violation has been committed, and whether to enter an athlete’s details on to its Register of Findings.
 
Sports Tribunal
  • If the ADRVP decides that an anti-doping rule violation has been committed, the athlete is given the opportunity to have a hearing before a sports tribunal.
  • The sports tribunal is responsible for the final determination of the matter and for imposing any relevant sanction under the anti-doping policy for the athlete’s sport.
  • Athletes can waive their right to a hearing. In these cases, the sport’s anti-doping policy will provide what the appropriate outcome may be.
  • Depending on their sport’s anti-doping policy and whether they waived their right to a hearing, athletes may be able to appeal to their sport’s anti-doping tribunal and the Court of Arbitration of Sport.
  • Separately, an athlete can appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal a decision by the ADRVP to place their details on its Register of Findings.
ASADA is authorised to publicly release information regarding an athlete’s ban once a final determination has been made by the relevant sport or the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

If the athlete or support person does not elect to go to a hearing, or the Sports Tribunal decides against the athlete or support person, ASADA will issue a public announcement within 20 days of the matter being finalised.

Investigations process

Stage
Details
Public disclosure
ASADA
  • Under its legislation, ASADA has a function to investigate possible violations of anti-doping rules to determine whether there is evidence of an ADRV, as defined by the National Anti-Doping Scheme and the World Anti-Doping Code.
  • An ADRV can be established against an athlete without a positive test.
  • ASADA has in place information-sharing
    relationships with government agencies, law enforcement bodies and sporting administration bodies.
  • Intelligence is also received from a variety of sources including the general public through tip offs, through doping control field work, athlete whereabouts, and scientific analysis.
  • As a government agency, ASADA is bound by Commonwealth Fraud Control guidelines.
    ASADA’s intelligence and investigations
    functions are also conducted in accordance
    with the Australian Government Investigations Standards.
  • ASADA analyses referrals of performance and image-enhancing drugs information received from Customs, Law Enforcement bodies and any other intelligence sources to determine if a case proceeds to investigation status.
  • Once a matter becomes an ASADA investigation there are several steps involved such as interviewing appropriate people and gathering relevant evidence of a possible ADRV. The length of this process varies based on unique circumstances and complexity of the investigation. For instance, the discovery of evidence may lead to further avenues of enquiry in an investigation.
  • ASADA has the power to issue a 'disclosure notice' compelling persons of interest to assist ASADA's investigations.
  • Upon the completion of an investigation, all relevant evidence and material for potential ADRVs are referred to ASADA’s Legal team for review.
  • Generally ASADA informs an athlete or support person and their relevant sporting administration body of an investigation at the point ASADA decides that there may be a possible ADRV.
  • In accordance with its legislative framework, ASADA puts formal allegations of a possible ADRV to the athlete or support person in anticipation of the matter being considered by the independent Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel (ADRVP).
  • The athlete or support person has the opportunity to make a submission to the ADRVP prior to their consideration of a matter.
ASADA cannot discuss specific details of its intelligence and investigations program. ASADA is bound by the ASADA Act and ASADA Regulations, the World Anti-Doping Code, the World
Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
International Standard for the
Protection of Privacy and Personal Information and the Privacy Act. All of these documents contain provisions that regulate when and what ASADA can say about individual matters.



























Athletes or support persons are
generally allowed ten days to provide
material to the the ADRVP for
consideration. This timeframe can be
extended at the request of an athlete
or support person. The extension of
time generally occurs in complicated
matters to provide fairness and allow
an athlete to obtain and provide
relevant information to the ADRVP.
Anti-Doping Rule
Violation Panel
  • The ADRVP is a decision-making body independent from ASADA whose members are appointed by the Minister for Sport.
  • The ADRVP reviews ASADA’s processes and all relevant evidence in a matter and makes decisions as to whether to enter an athlete or support person’s details onto the Register of Findings if it believes that a person has possibly committed an ADRV.
  • An athlete or support person can appeal a decision of the ADRVP to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Appeals to the AAT are only in relation to whether ASADA has complied with its legislative framework and whether there is sufficient evidence for a possible ADRV to have been committed. Appeals to the AAT do not cover issues such as possible sanctions under an individual sport’s anti-doping policy or whether an actual ADRV has occurred.
ASADA cannot comment publicly on ADRVP matters, including whether a matter is going to the ADRVP or on the outcome of any decision of the Panel.




There is no set timeframe to resolve appeals to the AAT. Athletes or support persons are allowed 28 days from receiving notification of their entry onto the Register of Findings to make a decision to appeal to the AAT.
Sports Tribunal
  • If an athlete or support person is entered on to the Register of Findings by the ADRVP, the athlete or support person will receive an ‘infraction notice’ in accordance with their sport’s anti-doping policy.
  • The infraction notice will provide the athlete with the opportunity to have a first instance hearing before a Sports Tribunal (such as the Ordinary Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport).
  • The Sports Tribunal is responsible for finding whether an ADRV has actually been committed and for imposing any relevant sanction under the sport’s anti-doping policy.
  • Athletes and support persons can waive their right to a hearing. In these cases, the sport will decide the appropriate sanction in accordance with its anti-doping policy.
  • Athletes or support persons, ASADA, WADA or an athlete or support person’s International Federation may be able to appeal the first instance Sports Tribunal decision to the Appeals Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
  • Note: Sports Tribunal hearings differ from court proceedings as they are generally closed to the public. The timeframe for conducting hearings varies according to the complexity of individual matters.
Athletes are generally provided a 14 day timeframe to respond to an infraction notice under their sport’s anti-doping policy.

ASADA is authorised to publicly release information regarding the outcome of a matter (such as, the name of an athlete or support person, the length of an athlete or support person’s ban, the ADRVs committed by an athlete or support person) once a final determination has been made by the relevant sport or a Sports Tribunal (pending any appeals).

If the athlete or support person does not elect to go to a hearing, or the Sports Tribunal decides against the athlete or support person, ASADA will issue a public announcement within 20 days of the matter being finalised.

Full written decisions of the ordinary Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport that an ADRV has been committed are not always publised and may be confidential.
However, as outlined above (pending any appeals) ASADA will publish the outcome of the matter.

Generally, full written decisions of the Appeals Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport that an ADRV has been committed are available for publication.