Sanctions without a positive test

We have known for some time that testing alone will not catch every athlete doping. So in 2006, Australia became one of the first countries to introduce intelligence and investigations into an anti-doping detection programme.

With this initiative ASADA has managed to redefine anti-doping globally by building a unique capability of integrating traditional testing with the ability to investigate possible doping activity.

In Australia, we work cooperatively with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Australian Federal Police, as well as state and territory police. In 2012, we further strengthened our investigation and intelligence capabilities by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Crime Commission (ACC). We also work cooperatively with other National Anti-Doping Organisations and International Federations in the sharing of information across borders.

Since 2006, about one-third of all athletes banned from sport in Australia for doping violations were caught without ever returning a positive result on a traditional doping test, and intelligence played a key role in that. It would be correct to say that with the introduction of intelligence and investigations, the probability of catching athletes cheating has increased. Crucially, the information uncovered by our intelligence work led to the ACC investigation into organised crime and drugs in sport.

Such is the success of ASADA’s intelligence and investigations programme; it is praised by WADA and is being emulated by anti-doping agencies abroad. For many years ASADA has shared its experience and knowledge regarding intelligence and investigations with anti-doping organisations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.