«Transcript of the Safeguarding the Integrity of Sport Forum May 2015 A production of Play by the Rules In cooperation with © Play by the Rules 2015 ...»
Opportunity – this ties straight back to the accessibility of this stuff. The Internet has created the opportunity for people, and given them a decision that perhaps 20 years ago, they didn’t even have to ask themselves, because steroids weren’t accessible to them.
Now, they are. If you look on a website, any website that sells this stuff, you potentially can get your hands on it. So, people have a question to ask themselves that wasn’t relevant 20 years ago.
Esteem – there’s a good book called The Doper Next Door. It was written by a journalist, a U.S. journalist, who happened to also be a middle-aged amateur cyclist. And he spent a year doping in order to write his book and talk about his experiences as an amateur cyclist who was doping. And he articulated that, even in pretty meaningless amateur cycling, age-group-based cycling races, the results that he was able to take from those races, which, in the big scheme of things—he’s not racing for show stations, but in terms of his own self-esteem, his performances and results had a disproportionate effect on his own selfesteem. Now, winning feels good. It doesn’t matter what level you’re doing it at. Achieving your goals feels good. And if you’re participating in sport and you have goals, and there’s a shortcut to get there, some people will, unfortunately, take that shortcut to achieve those goals, because it has an effect on your self-esteem.
Image – I’ll give you another little anecdote. Another sports person tested positive to clembuterol, and it was at the sub-elite level, bordering on the community level, so not particularly someone who was going to make the elite level. And he tested positive to clembuterol. We went out and asked him why he tested positive to clembuterol—”Why did you decided to take clembuterol?” His actual reasoning for taking it wasn’t sports-related, even though he was playing a sport. His taking clembuterol was incidental to that. His real motivation for taking it was an end-of-season trip to Barley, where he knew he would be walking around the beaches with his shirt off, looking to pick up girls over there, wanted to look good alongside his mates, so he wanted to shed a few kilos and put on a little bit of muscle in the same process. So, his entire process and rationalization was image-based, rather than sports-based. At the end of the day, though, because it was a performance effect with such a substance, he found himself out of sport for a couple of years. But his motivation was image-based.
And last of all, lack of awareness, inadvertent doping—Gary will talk a little bit more about supplements in a couple of presentations’ time, but this isn’t an issue confined to sub-elite sports, but inadvertent doping can go all the way up to Olympians. There are a couple of Welsh Olympians in the last 12 months who found themselves out of sport, and actually missed their home commonwealth games, because they took supplements 22 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive that they thought were safe. Unfortunately, those supplements were contaminated.
They tested positive to a banned substance, and they unfortunately were ruled out of the commonwealth games. Despite years and years of training, poor risk analysis in their judgment of the supplements they were taking led them to be banned from the sport and miss such a high-profile event, which they’d obviously trained for many years. They were Olympians. So, if you can make that mistake with all the training and advice that you get at that level, it’s quite likely, at the sub-elite level, you can dope inadvertently by taking contaminated supplements or taking a substance legitimately, that you’ve been prescribed, without realizing it’s on the banned list.
“ It was about being relevant to the group, which was pretty addicting … The sport is allconsuming … I was only involved in it for four
Michelle Heins: OK, all right. Thanks, Simon. So, thank you, everyone, for coming today. It’s a really good opportunity for us to have a chat to state supporting organizations. I know, with my role—I’m the director of sports engagement—we deal very closely with national sporting organizations, but it’s really important that we engage with you guys, as well, as you’re right down there in the thick of things.
Play by the Rules So, just a little bit about me—I’ve been with ASADA for almost seven years now. I also spent a year over in the UK, working for UK anti-doping, the lead-up to London 2012, as they were setting up their anti-doping program there. And I think it’s fair to say that a lot of issues that we’re seeing here at the sub-elite level were also issues that we were seeing in the UK at the time, and currently, as well. As well as sports engagement, I also look after engagement more widely, so international engagement. I run the testing program, our education program, athlete services—we have a therapeutic use exemption committee, as well, as well as the engagement. So, it’s a fairly busy role, and I work very closely with Simon and his team, and also the investigations team, to make sure that we develop and implement integrated programs.
So, in terms of what I’ll be talking to you about today, Simon’s given you a really good overview of the issues that we’re seeing at the sub-elite level. I’d like to run through some of the ways in which you can respond to these issues, particularly around education, but a few other areas, as well. But before I do that, I wanted to just give you a better understanding of the anti-doping framework, both here in Australia and internationally, and how ASADA is set up to respond to those issues.
So, in terms of the framework, most of you are working with sports who have an antidoping policy in place. Has everybody seen the anti-doping policy that your sport has? A couple of you have. So, we have around about 130 approved anti-doping policies. Sports are responsible for them. And they were recently updated, and came into effect from the first of January. Now, they are fairly significant documents. They are all about 80 pages long, and they set out the responsibilities of the sport athletes and support personnel, as well as some of the responsibilities for ASADA, in terms of anti-doping. And those documents have 24 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive a clear line of sight through our legislation up to the World Anti-Doping Code, which I think Paul put up on the screen earlier. That’s this document. This is our Bible. We carry it around with us everywhere. As you can see, I’ve brought it along with me today.
Along with the code, which is developed by the World Anti-Doping Agency to harmonize anti-doping programs internationally, there are also a number of international standards like the International Standard for Testing and Investigations. There’s an International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions. There’s also the Prohibited List. Has anyone heard of the Prohibited List? Again, just a couple of people. That’s a really important document, so if you’re getting any questions about your members, about what they can and can’t take, the Prohibited List, which is on the WADA website, is a really good place to go, because that sets up the classifications of prohibited substances and methods. So, that will give you a really good understanding of what you can and can’t take in sport.
We also have, of course, legislation in Australia. We have the ASADA act, as well as the National Anti-Doping Scheme. And that legislation really drives how we deliver our antidoping program in Australia. But what I think is really important, and as Paul mentioned earlier—the stick is not the only approach that we can use. We really need the help of organizations, sports, government, to help us to make sure that we’re protecting the integrity of sport in Australia.
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 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 Play by the Rules 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.
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 26 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive 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.