Media Statement: Explanation of ASADA’s processes

29 July 2019

The following statement is intended to provide information about the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s (ASADA) processes and should not be attributed to an individual case.

Since 2006, ASADA has been entering into legally binding confidentiality undertakings with sporting organisations in accordance with provisions contained in the National Anti-Doping scheme. These undertakings restrict what sporting organisations can say. This is, and always has been, ASADA’s standard practice. One of the reasons as to why ASADA has these agreements is to protect the integrity of our investigations.

As a leading anti-doping organisation ASADA is one of a few anti-doping organisations globally that has investigation powers under legislation. It is ASADA’s standard practice to conduct a thorough investigation in relation to all allegations of doping in Australian sport, including when an athlete returns a ‘positive’ test result for a non-specified prohibited substance. This enables ASADA to assess the veracity of an athlete’s claims and determine whether other athletes or support persons are involved in a broader anti-doping issue, as well as taking into account the rights and welfare of the athlete.

More importantly, our investigations enable ASADA to target facilitators who may be preying on Australian sport and our athletes.

Australians’ demand that our athletes compete on a level playing field and ASADA’s investigative powers and capability are an instrumental tool in ensuring that we lead the way in this area.

Not all anti-doping organisations have investigative powers and capabilities. Their processes are often limited to merely publicising a provisional suspension and then progressing a case with limited information or detail. By comparison, ASADA goes to great lengths to get to the core of potential anti-doping violations.

The assessment by ASADA as to whether information is disclosed publicly is made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the facts and circumstances of the matter.

Often it is not in ASADA’s interests for our investigation to be public in the early phase of our processes. In simple terms, what would a facilitator of doping do if they were to become aware of ASADA’s investigation? From our experience, evidence could be destroyed, or our investigation frustrated by the fact that it was subject to public commentary.

Despite our powers, ASADA can never restrict an athlete’s right to discuss or talk about their case in public.

ASADA CEO, David Sharpe says, “Athletes around the world are confused by these processes and more efforts should be undertaken by sports leaders to inform athletes.”

Further information on ASADA’s anti-doping rule violation process is available on the ASADA website.