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So, in terms of how we’re set up, we have four pillars—engagement, deterrence, detection, and enforcement. So, obviously, I’ve spoken a little bit about engagement already, but basically, we work closely with national sporting organizations. We work really closely with the sports commission, with Australian government departments like the National Integrity of Sport unit, who you’ll be hearing from shortly. We work with customs, law enforcement—a whole range of organizations. And the purpose for that is really to get a broad picture of what’s happening, in terms of integrity issues and anti-doping issues, and also look for ways that we can respond to those issues together.
In terms of deterrence, I think the two key areas there would be education and prevention programs and also our testing program, which is a really important deterrence tool. So, I’ll talk in a little bit more detail of that education later. But I just thought I’d mention that, in terms of our testing program, we are increasingly testing at the sub-elite level.
We’re working very closely with national sporting organizations, and we’ve piloted this program with a few sporting organizations this year to test at the sub-elite level, mainly in competition, for the deterrence effect. And what we’ve found is feedback from both athletes and the sports to say that they’re really surprised to see us. They didn’t realize they could be tested at that level. And they now will go and find out a little bit more about their rights and Play by the Rules responsibilities, in terms of anti-doping. So, it’s really important that you, firstly, understand your anti-doping policy and how it applies to your athletes, and secondly to understand that your athletes can be tested, and therefore they’re subject to this regime.
In terms of detection, obviously, the most visible detection mechanism that we have is our testing program. And we have around 3,000 government-funded tests that we conduct each year. We also do a number of tests in user-pay sports, like the professional sports.
But the other side of our detection capability is obviously our investigations. So, Simon’s team in intelligence, my testing team, and the staff that we have out in the field all collect information that goes towards investigations, so that we’re not just relying on positive tests.
We’re also looking at non-analytical findings, as well. So, that’s another important point. We have a number of different tools in our toolbox now, not just testing.
And finally, our enforcement role is really ASADA’s role in ensuring that any person who violates their anti-doping policy is prosecuted and sanctioned. And what’s important, I think, for you, in terms of enforcement is that we don’t want any athlete or support person fronting up to a tribunal and using ignorance as an excuse. So, it’s really important that they’re getting the education that they need. And while we have a lot of resources, and we work very closely with the NSOs, it also requires some work at your level to make sure that that information is getting down to your athletes.
Let’s click through these. In terms of what we need from you, obviously, I’m probably preaching to the converted here, but you’re the organizations that have the best access to your athletes. We have found a lot of research that says that, in order to influence attitudes and behaviour, we should be targeting athletes who are around 15 or 16 years of age, and often it’s better to get them a lot younger. And as you would know, athletes enter the realm of the national sporting organizations, that athlete pathway, around that age, and sometimes a little bit older. So, we really rely on you to get those messages across to athletes at that younger age.
The other thing I would say about that is that we have been really successful, in the last 12 months, in getting anti-doping in the national curriculum, so we’re starting to look at how we can work with school-age kids, mainly in sport schools, but piloting a few programs so that we can start raising awareness at that level, as well.
So, in terms of the level of athletes, obviously you know that you’re here because you deal with sub-elite-level athletes. And finally, your access to the athletes and coaches, support personnel, parents—often, for us, we’re only a small agency. I only have an education team of three people. It’s really difficult for us to get those messages down into the sub-elite levels. So, we really rely on you to help us do that. You have the channels to your athletes.
You work with them closely every day. You’re involved in their social activities. You’re the gatekeepers of information to those athletes. So, we really need your help to get those messages through.
14 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive So, what can you do? Well, it’s all very well talking to you about what the problems are, but you really need some ways that you can respond to these issues. And I think I mentioned earlier that education really is the key here. And there are a number of options that we have available to you, and research that we have available to you. But I think the first step for you is to really talk to your national sporting organization and find out if they have an education plan in place around anti-doping and wider integrity issues. We work really closely with a lot of national sporting organizations, and most of them are really proactive in this area. If they do have an education plan in place, have a look and see whether or not you can leverage off that, or whether there are any cross-overs with athletes in the states. You’ll also find that, if a national sporting organization does have an education plan in place, they will more often than not tally their resources, particularly to that sport. And we find that that has a lot more cut-through with your members.
Now, if they don’t have an education plan in place, and you’ve encouraged them, and they still haven’t developed on, we can help you to develop an education plan for your sport.
There are some templates available on the USB that you’ve been given today, really simple, and it’s really just a matter of identifying the issues, talking to your members about those
issues, talking about their rights and responsibilities, in terms of anti-doping. It doesn’t have to be particularly complex. And as I said, we’re more than happy to help you with that. Just contact our education team. The contact details are also on the USB or on the website.
Now, in terms of resources that we do offer, we do have an e-learning program. Has anyone here done our e-learning program? A couple of people—that’s great. We have a number of different modules in our e-learning. We have the level 1 e-learning module, which is really a very basic program. It runs for about 60 minutes. It covers rights and responsibilities, where to find more information, some of the issues that we’re seeing—that program was relaunched in December last year, so it’s brand-new, and it’s really a great program. I’d strongly encourage you to have a look at it, and I have a bit of a primer to show you in a minute.
Play by the Rules But basically, the education program is great for your members. It’s 60 minutes. At the end of it, you get a certificate. We find that a lot of sports are using this certificate for compliance purposes, so if they want a team to attend a particular event, they’ll mandate that every member, every athlete, does at least the level 1 course, and they send the PDF of the certificate in to the sport, and they have a record of that. You probably don’t need to go to that level, but there is an option there to do that.
The program is available on all of the different tablets, smartphones, whatever you use. It will all be compatible with that. So, as I think I might have said, it’s free to register. You have your level 1. There’s also a level 2 course. There are courses for coaches. We have regular learning updates that go out, so once you’ve registered, you continue to get information from us about what’s happening in the world of anti-doping. And there’s also access to a whole lot of YouTube clips, tons of resources. So, definitely go and have a look at that.
To access the video and ASADA eLearning go to: elearning.asada.gov.au
So, I’ll just have finished—we’ll go back to education, actually. A few more things that we do offer—we do offer face-to-face sessions. They’re about 60 minutes. So, if you feel you have a team that you want to bring together, and you don’t think online is going to work for your group, or you have something specific that you want to talk to them about, we can provide a face-to-face session where one of our presenters come to you and do the presentation for you. There is a cost associated with that, though. But we do have presenters in all of the states, and we quite often attend team-based sports, usually, and do the face-to-face presentations.
Now, that’s, as I said, a 60-minute presentation, mainly around rights and responsibilities and general information. We do also offer an ethical decision-making workshop, which we’ve developed alongside Paul. So, we’re more than happy to take any questions about that, if you’re interested in something like that, as well.
We also offer sport facilitator sessions. So, if you would like to do a face-to-face session, and you don’t particularly want one of our people to come and do that for you, we can help you to develop the presentation, and we have templates that are available. We can talk you through any questions that you might have at that presenting, or questions that you think you might get from your athletes, and help you through the process that way. So, that’s another really good option, if you have a group that you want to bring together.
Just a few other things—what you can do—I think we’ve talked about the cultural issues already, and Paul mentioned that, around the ethics. Culture is really important. You’re the eyes and the ears of the sport. You’re the ones who deal with athletes as they come into the sport and develop the culture around that. So, I think making sure that you do risk assessment, you look at some of the cultural issues that you might have within your sport— all of those things are really important, from a governance perspective. And certainly, in recent times, I’ve been talking to quite a few sports about some of the issues that we’re seeing, around doping in sub-elite levels, and they’ve asked us to come and talk to their 16 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive board and their state presidents about governance issues. So, that’s really important to start thinking about, as well. It’s not just about pushing the information out. It’s making sure you have the culture right within your organisation.
As Simon mentioned earlier, we really need information from you—what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing, information that you get from your athletes, from parents, from your support personnel, your coaches—all of that information. If you can feed it back up to us, we’d really appreciate it, or through your national sporting organization, as well. We have an anonymous tip-off line. We also have a secure form that you can use online, or you can obviously talk to Simon or I if you have any information, as well. The more information we have, the better picture we can create. And it’s also an opportunity for us to work more closely with you. So, even if it’s information that you don’t necessarily think really fits within anti-doping, talk to us about it anyway, and we might be able to hook you up with some other people that can help.
Our website is a really great resource for information. It’s just recently been re-launched this week, actually, so it’s all been updated. It’s code-compliant. So, the World Anti-Doping Code came into effect on the 1st of January this year, so any information that you need about changes to that—have a look at our website. There’s also a link on there to a tool called “Check Your Substances.” So, if you’re interested, or if any of your athletes are interested, in finding out what medications they can and can’t take, go and have a look at the “Check Your Substances” tool, and that will tell you if that particular medication is prohibited in sport.
We also have a whole lot of other resources online, as well. We have, as I mentioned, all of our educational resources, YouTube videos—there’s a mountain of information on there.
And there’s also a whole lot of other opportunities for you to work with us, as well, to follow us on social media, to make sure you get some anti-doping messages in your newsletters— it’s a whole range of things that you can do. And we’re more than happy to talk to you about those options, as well, so please contact us, and we’re happy to help.