Ministerial statement: Australia and UK sign historic agreement to beat drug cheats

13 August 2012

Australia and the United Kingdom have reached an historic agreement uniting the intelligence and investigation strengths of two of the world’s leading anti-doping organisations to protect the integrity of sport.

Federal Minister for Sport Mark Arbib today announced the signing of the agreement between the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) and UK Anti-Doping.

Senator Arbib said the agreement would harness the intelligence and investigations capabilities of the two organisations to greatly improve global anti-doping efforts.

“This agreement goes beyond information-sharing, it provides a framework for the organisations to use their combined expertise to assess doping issues and trends and work out how to best deal with them,” Senator Arbib said.

“It will allow ASADA to work with UK Anti-Doping on their testing programs and support anti-doping investigations, which can catch cheats who haven’t recorded a positive test.

“This arrangement will make it even harder for athletes to hide if they are doping.

“I am very pleased that we have this agreement in place in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to support efforts being made globally to catch cheats before, during, and after the Games.

“The net is tightening on doping cheats, and athletes can be assured that everything possible is being done to protect their right to compete in sport played fairly and where all players are giving their best.”

Under the agreement UK Anti-Doping could potentially advise ASADA that a new performanceenhancing substance is being used in the UK.

ASADA could then apply new technology to retrospectively analyse an Australian athlete’s sample stored in their long-term storage facility or introduce warnings into their education program.

UK Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson said drug cheats had no place in sport and it was important to do everything possible to ensure that they don’t reach the start line.

“Sharing information, intelligence and best practice is crucial to help us in that fight and take a unified global approach. This agreement between UK Anti-Doping and ASADA will do exactly that,” Mr Robertson said.

“We are taking a no-compromise, zero tolerance approach to doping at London 2012 and this partnership will strengthen our efforts in the run up to hosting the greatest sporting show on earth.”

ASADA Chief Executive Officer Aurora Andruska said Australia had been at the forefront of antidoping efforts for the past two decades and this agreement with UK Anti-Doping was another example of how united the world had become to eradicate doping in sport.

“Whether it is importation issues, using intelligence for testing programs, or detecting doping trends in sports played by both countries, this agreement is a catalyst for ensuring pure performance,” Ms Andruska said.

“There are many athletes from Australia and the UK who now train and compete in both countries, so we owe it to them to have this inter-agency arrangement in place.

“The world is becoming smaller and we need to become smarter in what we do, so I believe a global intelligence-led approach to catching cheats is the way of the future in anti-doping.”

UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Andy Parkinson said the Memorandum of Understanding allows UK Anti-Doping to strengthen its intelligence-led approach.

“To tackle the problem of doping in sport, we must work collaboratively and on a global scale. This latest Memorandum of Understanding is a significant addition to our intelligence sharing capabilities in the countdown to 2012 and beyond,” Mr Parkinson said.

“By using an intelligence-led approach in all aspects of our anti-doping programmes, the UK and Australia stand a greater chance of deterring those tempted to dope and of catching those who do. I have great confidence in the impact we will have in the next year, particularly as a result of such partnerships.”

Since 2006, about one-third of Australian athletes entered onto the Register of Findings for an anti-doping rule violation were caught as a direct result of ASADA’s intelligence and investigations capability.

The agreement will complement ASADA’s other domestic information-sharing relationships with government law enforcement bodies, non-government agencies and sporting administration bodies.