The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) operates in a complex sports integrity and anti-doping environment. As Australia’s national anti-doping organisation we are responsible for implementing a program consistent with international requirements and Australian legislation. Our work provides confidence to the government and community about the integrity of Australian sport.
This Corporate Plan sets out ASADA’s strategic direction and priorities and how we intend to achieve our purpose and measure our work over the coming four years. It contains a comprehensive analysis of the present-day doping threat, which has been enabled by our investment in internal capability and strategic analysis. Through this analysis we know that anti-doping programs based on testing alone will never be effective. Today, testing forms just one part of an integrated suite of anti-doping strategies, which include education, prevention, disruption and deterrence activities.
Our immediate priority is to put in place a robust anti-doping program for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Through the High Integrity Anti-Doping Partnership with the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Organising Committee for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games we plan to support clean athletes, and promote and protect the legitimacy and credibility of the Games.
Integrity in sport faces a number of opportunities and challenges over the coming years, and we are ready to play our part in securing a platform for clean and fair sport.
As the accountable authority of ASADA, I present this 2017–18 Corporate Plan, which covers the periods 2017–18 to 2020–21, as required under section 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act).
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Clean, fair sport.
To protect clean sport through engagement, deterrence, detection and enforcement.
To protect the health of athletes and the integrity of Australian sport by minimising the risk of doping.
Australia is a signatory to the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport and is required to implement anti-doping arrangements in accordance with the principles of the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code). We collaborate with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), overseas anti-doping organisations and other stakeholders to further the Australian Government’s efforts to strengthen anti-doping practices globally and in Australia.
Our role and functions are set out in the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Act 2006, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Regulations 2006 and the National Anti-Doping scheme.
To achieve our purpose we deliver a leading-edge integrated anti-doping program to the Australian sporting community focussing on four key areas of activities.
Strengthening relationships internally and externally to build anti-doping capabilities and hardening the environment against doping in sport.
Minimising the risk of doping in Australian sport through education, communications and testing activities.
Gathering intelligence and investigating possible breaches of the anti-doping rules by athletes and support personnel.
Managing possible anti-doping violations by athletes and athlete support personnel.
The international environment
Australia's anti-doping program operates in an international context. Since the introduction of the revised Code in 2015, national anti-doping organisations globally are facing increasing compliance demands and greater expectations to reduce the risk of doping in sport.
The doping environment is constantly evolving, with traditional methods and typologies of doping changing as athletes, and those engaged in enabling or facilitating doping, seek to evade detection by anti-doping regimes. Athletes are employing a range of methodologies including micro-dosing (using small amounts of drugs that are quickly eliminated from the body), sophisticated ‘washing out’ schedules in out of competition cycles, and closely following and trialling the use of new substances and techniques before they become identified by the WADA and placed on the prohibited substance list. In addition, gene doping (the modification of the gene profile of an athlete through the introduction of another person’s genes to the body to enhance performance) has been identified by WADA as a potential future doping threat.
The facilitators of doping have also expanded greatly. People who are motivated to dope can obtain detailed information online or from complicit support personnel and fellow athletes with regard to substances that are fast acting, effective, and that can be cleared from the body quickly without leaving traces that can be identified in testing.
Banned substances can be obtained through support staff, through networks of doping athletes, ordered online, or prescribed by doctors in general practice who are prepared to write prescriptions for any substance that an athlete might request.
Pharmacists can also play a role in the abuse of performance-enhancing substances in sport. ASADA intelligence suggests that some athletes may access performance-enhancing substances through private clinics such as performance and anti-ageing clinics, with those performance-enhancing substances compiled and supplied by compounding pharmacists.
Furthermore, where once doping was considered to be a problem for elite sport only, it is now seen across all levels of sport. In addition athletes no longer need to rely on specialist support personnel such as doctors and coaches to find and source performance enhancing substances. Globalisation and the internet have enabled athletes to do their own research, to access specialist doping blogs and chat rooms, and to anonymously order the substances that they seek online. This self-initiated doping can be difficult to identify without close monitoring of individual athlete performance, as the fewer people who know about the doping, the more likely it is that the doping will remain secret.
The domestic environment
Globally, the pressure on athletes to win can be acute and Australian athletes are no exception. Risk factors for doping are present across the spectrum of sports in Australia, and at all levels of sport. Due to the covert nature of doping it is impossible to accurately quantify the incidence of doping. There is however widespread recognition in the sporting sector that the statistics for positive doping tests significantly underrepresent the real scale of the problem.
Athletes involved in professional sports must sustain high levels of performance to maintain their contracts, salaries and sponsorships, and the future and livelihoods of athletes, players and coaches are contingent on winning. There is significant pressure on clubs and sporting codes to draw people to the sport, boost revenue, provide a spectacle and, in some instances, to secure sports broadcasting contracts. With that heightened pressure comes increased risk of the doping temptation.
Compounding these doping risk factors is a culture within some sports in which performing and winning may be valued above the health and well-being of the athlete, and above the integrity of the sport. For example, increasingly, doping risk is being identified in professional athletes who, due to age or injury, are coming to the end of their careers. Players immersed in this kind of culture may perceive that it is acceptable to take a banned substance. While ASADA can assist sports in implementing anti-doping governance structures, education plans and procedures, sporting cultures that carry a high doping risk pose an ongoing challenge, and one that will require significant transformational effort on the part of the sport itself.
Athletes representing Australia at international competitions are under significant pressure to win. Coaches can feel acute pressure to consistently produce winning athletes, and athletes can feel that they are letting their team and their sport down if they do not perform. In that environment, there is a risk that coaches may resort to giving performance-enhancing substances to their athletes, or that individual athletes or networks of athletes may initiate their own consumption of performance‑enhancing substances.
The number of cases of doping identified through testing and other means are almost certainly an under representation of the actual scope of doping in international-level sport. Indeed, unless there is specific, targeted and timely intelligence in relation to doping individuals or groups, it is likely that testing regimes will only identify those athletes undertaking relatively unsophisticated doping.
In addition, the differences in the anti-doping capacity of different countries means not all athletes are subject to the same rigour of testing and anti-doping education. This can lead athletes to feel that they are not participating on a level playing field, which can be a risk factor for athletes to consider doping.
Masters and recreational sport
ASADA intelligence suggests that doping is occurring in some Masters-level sport. This doping is understood to be primarily motivated by a desire to counter the reduction in performance that comes with age, and by a concern with body image. Masters-level doping is of added concern as some of those doping at the Masters level are also involved in coaching junior and open level athletes.
Doping has also been identified in recreational sport, and seems motivated by both a desire to win, and a desire to enhance physical appearance. The seeming increase in the prevalence of doping in recreational sport is perhaps linked to what is understood to be a generalised increase in the uptake of performance-enhancing substances in the population. The policing of the illicit market in performance and image-enhancing substances receives minimal resourcing, which means the nature and extent of that market is particularly difficult to quantify. It also means that trafficking and dealing in performance-enhancing substances is likely to be seen by entrepreneurial individuals and organised criminals as low-risk / high return, with the seemingly growing demand for performance-enhancing substances in the general community representing a business opportunity.
ASADA currently has anti-doping policies in place with approximately 115 sports in Australia, which make these sports subject to the Code. However, those sports with which ASADA does not have an anti-doping policy are considered unregulated from an anti-doping perspective.
For example, the sports of powerlifting and bodybuilding incorporate both regulated and unregulated federations and competitions, and any athlete who competes within a regulated federation and is identified and sanctioned for an anti-doping rule violation can continue to compete within an unregulated federation. For this reason, it is understood that unregulated federations provide a hiding place for doping athletes, who may move between regulated and unregulated federations to minimise their chances of being caught or thwart a sanction.
The maturing integrity landscape
Since ASADA's establishment in 2006, the profile of integrity in sport has increased significantly. The work of ASADA in establishing leading anti-doping approaches has stimulated significant development in major sporting organisations, including the establishment of Integrity Units in a number of Australia’s major sporting codes.
At the level of individual athletes and their corporate relationships, codes of conduct or rules of engagement are now common practice in many sporting codes and articulated in private contracts between athletes and their club/sporting body. These contracts establish standards of behaviour and the sanctions that may be applied where behaviour does not meet expected principles of conduct.
These changes present a maturing integrity and anti-doping ecosystem. This provides ASADA with the opportunity to draw on, extend or reinforce additional points of influence with sports when designing an integrated anti-doping program to drive compliant and positive behaviours.
Environmental effects on performance
ASADA faces a number of factors that can potentially affect our work and the regulatory environment in which we operate over the next four years.
- Delivering our services under increasingly tight fiscal conditions.
- Meeting increased costs of sample analysis.
- Engaging with sport stakeholders, while also operating independently as our legislation mandates.
- Overseeing sports compliance with anti-doping policies.
- Assessing cost recovery measures for the services and activities provided to both government-funded and user-pays sports.
- Increased non-analytical (no positive drug test) violations requiring greater intelligence-gathering and investigative capabilities.
- More complex, protracted and contested enforcement activities.
Opportunities and challenges
- Outcomes specific to ASADA resulting from the Government’s review into the integrity of Australian sport (part of the development of the National Sport Plan).
- Enhancing our engagement with sports to build anti-doping capability.
- Strengthening our relationships with law enforcement and other regulatory agencies.
- Expanding our intelligence and investigative functions.
- Developing targeted responses to specific doping risks in sports.
- Determining appropriate user-pays funding arrangements.
- Leveraging technological advances to improve our interactions with athletes.
- Contributing to international anti-doping efforts and capacity building.
- Increasing sophistication of doping.
- The growth of sport and our ability to cover an expanding population of athletes, teams and sports under our jurisdiction.
- Adequacy of funding to meet our capability and operating requirements.
- Competition from other integrity issues resulting in sports diverting funding away from anti-doping programs.
2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
ASADA has entered into a High Integrity Anti-Doping Partnership with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the Organising Committee for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GOLDOC) to support clean athletes, and promote and protect the legitimacy and credibility of the Games.
The Partnership includes the establishment of a pre-Games Anti-Doping Taskforce, which will be co-chaired by ASADA and the CGF, and comprise membership from GOLDOC, International Federations and Regional and National Anti‑Doping Organisations. The Taskforce will be responsible for sharing intelligence and conducting testing on athletes prior to their arrival at the Games. The Australian Government has allocated $1.5 million in funding to support additional testing of both Australian and international athletes in the lead up to the Games.
During the Games, the Partnership will ensure a strategic approach to testing, striking a balance between the testing of medallists and target-testing in response to intelligence received from the Taskforce and other sources of intelligence, including Australian law-enforcement organisations.
The Partnership will also implement a comprehensive long-term sample storage and reanalysis program. For the first time, every single sample collected during the Games period will be tanked in long-term storage facilities, for future reanalysis under the jurisdiction of the CGF.
On 5 August 2017 the Minister for Sport announced the ‘Review into integrity of Australian sport’. The Review will examine national and international integrity threats and future challenges, including the rise of illegal offshore wagering, match-fixing and doping in sport. It will also consider the merits of establishing a dedicated national sports integrity commission. The Review provides an important opportunity to strengthen integrity and anti-doping measures in Australia. ASADA will make itself available to meet with members of the Review panel and present submissions surrounding ASADA’s capability and proposed changes to the current anti-doping framework.
Securing ASADA's financial sustainability
In a context of declining appropriations, ASADA will be carrying out a number of activities to ensure its financial sustainability over the period covered by this corporate plan. These activities include:
- submissions to Government on ASADA’s regulatory and funding arrangements
- resolving the risks for ASADA’s sustainability arising from the high analysis costs imposed by the National Measurement Institute, the operator of the WADA-accredited laboratory serving the Oceania region
- transferring resources from capital to operating appropriations to reflect changes in the ASADA operating model
- sourcing and finalising long-term leasing arrangements to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in our property and associated costs.
Delivering a leading anti-doping program
ASADA has built a global reputation as a forward-thinking agency developing and implementing leading-edge anti-doping programs. Our expertise is often requested by our international partners who are looking at ways to strengthen their own domestic programs. We plan to build on this reputation by examining how we operate and where opportunities exist to enhance our work in an environment challenged by increasing compliance demands and tight fiscal conditions.
Integral to ASADA’s recently established strategic intelligence capability is a data analytics program that will identify, based on almost 20 years of testing data and five years of intelligence data, where doping risk in Australian sport lies. The program will identify those sports in which the most positive tests for banned substances have been identified, what substances were involved, whether there are any patterns or trends in doping across and between sports, and whether there may be particular risk factors such as age, injury, or critical points in performance trajectories. The program will provide ASADA with the evidence base to deliver a world leading targeted anti-doping regime.
Stronger cooperation domestically
Ensuring clean sport is not the job of ASADA alone we will continue to expand our intelligence and investigative functions through the negotiation of information‑sharing arrangements with law enforcement and other regulatory agencies. In doing our job we gather a large amount of information about the risk of doping in particular sports. In the coming years we plan to add value to our capability in this area by developing strategic and operational intelligence products to share with external stakeholders.
Australia's anti-doping program operates in an international context and over a number of years ASADA has built a reputation of collaboratively working with its international counterparts. In the four-year period covered by this corporate plan, ASADA will continue to contribute its expertise to strengthen global and domestic anti-doping efforts. From representing Australian interests at international forums to sharing our knowledge in sample collection processes, intelligence-gathering, investigations and enforcement activities, ASADA will fulfil its responsibility as a leading member of the global anti-doping community.
Our two-year memorandum of understanding with the National Anti-Doping Agency of India and WADA reaches its conclusion in 2017–18. The aim of the agreement is to enhance India’s anti-doping program and assist its Code compliance efforts by offering a training and mentoring role to our counterparts. ASADA has highlighted resourcing restraints, provided training on test distribution planning, risk assessment process and the monitoring of their sample collection process. Through this work the Indian agency has worked to update their policies and procedures through the adaption of ASADA’s templates. Indian staff and the Indian Anti-Doping Hearing Panels have also received advice on the legal aspects of the results management process.
On 1 June 2017, WADA launched the first phase of a stakeholder consultation process regarding the review of a limited number of Code articles (related to Code compliance) and a new International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories. ASADA will provide its expertise to assist the Australian Government’s contribution to the consultation process, which enters into its second phase on 1 September 2017.
Mapping of role, purposes and activities
Measuring performance helps us understand, manage, and improve what we do to protect the health of athletes and the integrity of Australian sport by minimising the risk of doping.
|1||A||Percentage of sporting organisations, athletes and support personnel aware of ASADA legislation and the Code.||Annual stakeholder survey||80% level of awareness||80% level of awareness||80% level of awareness||80% level of awareness||
|1||A||Percentage of sporting organisations, athletes and support personnel aware of their rights and responsibilities in relation to anti-doping.||Annual stakeholder survey||80% level of awareness||80% level of awareness||80% level of awareness||80% level of awareness||
|1||A||Achievement in working with stakeholders to reduce the risk of doping in sport.||International and domestic engagement activities||Engage with a range of stakeholders to develop anti-doping programs aimed at reducing the risk of doping in sport.||As per 2017–18||As per 2017–18||As per 2017–18||
|1||A||Percentage of national sporting organisations, athletes and support personnel who are satisfied with anti-doping education and awareness raising programs.||Education participant feedback survey||80% level of satisfaction||80% level of satisfaction||80% level of satisfaction||80% level of satisfaction||
|1||A||Percentage of athletes agreeing that ASADA’s education and information services had minimised their risk of an accidental breach of the anti-doping regulations.||Annual stakeholder survey||80% level of agreement||80% level of agreement||80% level of agreement||80% level of agreement||
|2||B||Percentage of stakeholders who rate ASADA’s testing activities as an effective way to deter athletes and support personnel from doping.||Annual stakeholder survey||80% level of agreement||80% level of agreement||80% level of agreement||80% level of agreement||
|3||C & D||Achievement in maintaining relevant intelligence flows to and from third parties.||Engagement activity with stakeholders in intelligence area||Enhance intelligence and detection capabilities, and collaboration with stakeholders to minimise the risk of doping in sport.||As per 2017–18||As per 2017–18||As per 2017–18||
|4||E||Percentage of cases conducted by ASADA in tribunals that result in a finding of an anti-doping rule violation.||Independent tribunal result||80% of tribunal findings result in an anti-doping rule violation.||80% of tribunal findings result in an anti-doping rule violation.||80% of tribunal findings result in an anti-doping rule violation.||80% of tribunal findings result in an anti-doping rule violation.||
Maintaining our reputation as one of the world’s leading anti-doping agencies is due in part to our workforce planning process that started in 2014. The initiatives we have put in place ensure investment in staff capability is oriented towards areas of priority.
In the short-term our focus remains on enhancing our intelligence, science, investigations, testing and legal functions. For example, ASADA has actively encouraged secondments and resource sharing arrangements with relevant law enforcement and other regulatory agencies to maintain our expertise at the forefront of global anti-doping efforts.
Over the next four years we will invest in our resources to ensure we have the right capabilities to deliver against our purpose and areas of priority. Ultimately, the skill of our workforce is important to our ability to respond effectively to the challenges posed by an increasingly sophisticated doping environment.
Technology plays an important part in how we work from managing our processes to delivering anti-doping information to athletes and sports. In recent years, ASADA has moved away from bespoke applications that are expensive to produce and maintain to applications that are mandated for use internationally, and are used and supported internationally. We have also invested in advanced data analysis tools and capabilities to further support our push towards an intelligence-led anti-doping program.
In 2016, Australians wanting to search the status of a medication in sport were directed to Global DRO, a mobile-enhanced replacement for our Check Your Substances search tool. The advantage of Global DRO for Australian athletes is that they can search the status of ingredients and brands of medications that they might encounter outside of Australia. The transition to Global DRO has been successful with searches increasing 115% since 2015–16.
An effective out-of-competition testing program is a fundamental part of the anti-doping framework. Timely, accurate and complete information about the whereabouts of athletes is critical to conducting this testing program. Since 2016, Australian athletes have been providing their whereabouts information on the WADA's Administration and Management System (ADAMS). With a range of enhancements, ADAMS makes it easier for athletes to enter, view and change their whereabouts information. Through the continued implementation of the ADAMS system, Australian athletes are now offered the additional functionality of submitting applications for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE). Athletes may at times need to use a prohibited medication to treat a legitimate medical condition. A TUE is an exemption that allows an athlete to use, for therapeutic purposes only, an otherwise prohibited substance or method (of administering a substance).
To secure the full benefits offered by ADAMS, ASADA will be transitioning fully to the system in 2017–18. The move will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our work by minimising the duplication of data processing, as well as increasing information-sharing capabilities with our international counterparts.
We have recently started using Gracenote Sports which captures, curates and delivers in-depth sports data including schedules, scores, statistics, play-by-play details and team and player information for the world’s major sporting events. When combined with our other information sources Gracenote provides additional internal capability to support our work.
Our ICT network continues to be certified to PROTECTED status, which enables the sharing of information between ASADA and law enforcement agencies. We are committed to maintaining our ICT infrastructure to a standard that provides confidence to the sporting, law enforcement and regulatory communities.
Over the next four years we will look to further enhancements to our ICT infrastructure that will support the requirements of the enhanced operating model and achievement of our purpose.
How we will operate
ASADA operates in a complex and changing environment which requires flexibility and adaptability to succeed. ASADA cannot eliminate risk from its operations, we must engage with and respond to risk in a way that is proportionate to the circumstances.
Our level of risk management capability is aligned with the requirements of section 16 of the PGPA Act and is founded upon principles set out in ISO 31000 Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines and the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy.
Risk management and fraud control at ASADA is governed by the Risk Management and Fraud Control Framework, which includes:
- fraud control processes
- internal audit function
- business continuity processes
- corporate planning, and
- budgeting processes.
The Risk Management Framework embeds risk management in all ASADA’s operational and corporate activities. We do not view risk management as a stand-alone process. It is entrenched in our business planning and resource processes and is closely aligned with a range of other business processes that are performed within the agency, including fraud control, internal audit and business continuity processes.
ASADA encourages its Directors to engage with and take risk-based decisions. The ASADA Executive recognises that it is not necessary or desirable to eliminate all risk inherent in its activities. Acceptance of risk is often necessary to foster innovation and efficiencies within business practices. ASADA expects all its employees to manage the business in such a manner that risk is minimised to appropriate levels and objectives are maximised.
Supporting the framework is the ASADA Risk Management and Fraud Control Policy, which acts as a practical guide for the implementation of the risk management and fraud control framework. Our risk management program helps us to proactively manage our risks, reduce our exposure to financial and reputational harm and optimise our use of resources.