We follow the principles set out under the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) to establish a process for the administration of potential ADRVs.
A positive doping test is one of ten anti-doping rule violations an athlete or support person can commit under the Code. Therefore, each potential ADRV brought before ASADA is unique in both its circumstances and the time it takes to reach a conclusion.
Our policy is to not talk or speculate about individuals during the ADRV process. 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 ADRV cases it is the athlete or support person’s reputation and sometimes career that is at stake. Therefore, we have 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.
Phase 1 - Testing
- ASADA conducts in- and out-of-competition testing of Australian athletes in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) International Standard for Testing and Investigations.
- Testing is conducted in Australia and overseas.
- Samples are sent to a WADA-accredited lab for analysis.
We do not discuss the specific details of our testing programme to protect its integrity.
Phase 2 - WADA-accredited laboratory
- 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 laboratory.
- ASADA receives reports of adverse analytical findings (that is, a positive anti-doping test result).
Phase 3 - 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 ADRV.
- The letter sent to the athlete is generally referred to as the ‘A’ sample notification.
- The ‘A’ sample notification informs the athlete that the ‘A’ sample has returned a positive result. The notification also informs the athlete that the ‘B’ sample will be analysed, unless the athlete waives their right to the analysis. If the athlete waives their right to the ‘B’ sample analysis they must do so in writing.
- ASADA advises the athlete that it retains the right to analyse the ‘B’ sample even if the athlete waives their right.
- The ‘A’ sample notification provides the athlete with a date, time and location of where the ‘B’ sample will be analysed. Generally, a ‘B’ sample analysis occurs a week after the ‘A’ sample notification is received by the athlete. The athlete is advised that they, or a representative, or both can attend the analysis of their ‘B’ sample. In the event they do not attend, the laboratory will appoint a witness to observe the analysis.
- ASADA will first notify the athlete of the ‘B’ sample analysis result as soon as possible after advice is received from the laboratory. Generally, this can occur about a week after the analysis. ASADA will then notify the national sporting organisation, International Federation, WADA and the Australian Sports Commission (if required).
- 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, like some asthma medications).
- ASADA then presents information to the independent Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel about a potential violation of the World Anti-Doping Code.
It is not uncommon for ASADA to make several attempts to contact an athlete between the ‘A’ sample notification and the ‘B’ sample analysis. This ensures the athlete has been given every opportunity to participate in the process and notify ASADA of their intentions.
There are occasions when the ‘B’ sample analysis is delayed. This is often associated with a request from an athlete to postpone the analysis so they can make arrangements to either personally attend the laboratory in relation to the ‘B’ sample identification and analysis, or have a representative attend on their behalf. There are of course other considerations in relation to scientific analysis, including the availability of staff or testing equipment at the laboratory.
Phase 4 - Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel (ADRVP)
- The ADRVP is a decision-making body independent from ASADA whose members are appointed by the Minister for Sport.
- The ADRVP assesses the information presented to them by the athlete, ASADA and any other relevant party.
- After due consideration the ADRVP decides on whether it is satisfied a possible ADRV has been committed, and whether to make an assertion that there has been a possible ADRV by the athlete.
- An athlete can appeal a decision made by the ADRVP to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal .
Phase 5 - Sports Tribunal
- If the ADRVP makes an assertion that a possible ADRV has been committed, the athlete is given the opportunity to have a hearing before a sports tribunal.
- 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.
- The sports tribunal is responsible for the determination of the matter and for imposing any relevant sanction under the sport's anti-doping policy.
- Depending on the sport’s anti-doping policy and whether an athlete has 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.
We can publicly release information regarding an athlete’s ban once a final determination has been made (pending any appeals) by the relevant sport or the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Modified flow chart of the ADRV process - positive test
Phase 1 - 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 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 the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, 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 inquiry 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 ADRVP.
- The athlete or support person has the opportunity to make a submission to the ADRVP prior to their consideration of a matter.
We are unable to discuss specific details of its intelligence and investigations programme. We are bound by the ASADA Act and ASADA Regulations, the Code, the 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 we can say about individual matters.
Phase 2 - Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel (ADRVP)
- The ADRVP is a decision-making body independent from ASADA whose members are appointed by the Minister for Sport.
- 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.
- The ADRVP reviews ASADA’s processes and all relevant evidence in a matter and makes decisions as to whether it is satisfied a possible ADRV has been committed, and whether to make an assertion that there has been a possible ADRV by the athlete or support person.
- 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.
- 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.
ASADA will not comment publicly on ADRVP matters, including whether a matter is going to the ADRVP or on the outcome of any decision of the Panel.
Phase 3 - Sports Tribunal
- If an athlete or support person is asserted to have committed a possible ADRV 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 or support person 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).
- Athletes are generally provided a 14 day timeframe to respond to an infraction notice under their 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.
- 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 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.
We are 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).
Full written decisions of the ordinary Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport that an ADRV has been committed are not always published and may be confidential. However, as outlined (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.