Australia is a signatory to the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport and is required to implement and comply with the principles set out in the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC).
The process governing an anti-doping rule violation (ADVR) is located under the Sport Integrity Australia Act 2020 and the Sport Integrity Australia Regulations 2020, as well as the principles set out in the WADC. These laws are intended to achieve and promote fair sporting performances across all levels.
ADRV’s are brought before Sport Integrity Australia and sanctions can range anywhere from a warning to a lifetime ban.
- an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) (positive result)
- Notification to the Athlete or Other Person.
- Acceptance or Contest Decision
- Letter of Charge
- Possible early disclosure
- Public disclosure (Note that there are two exceptions to this, namely if you are considered a Protected Person or if you agree to provide substantial assistance)
What Constitutes an ADRV?
This strict liability offence includes the presence of a prohibited substances or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample. The following acts listed in Article 2 of the World Anti-Doping Code 2021 may constitute an ADRV.
- Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method was Used or Attempted to be Used for an anti-doping rule violation to be committed.
- Evading, Refusing or Failing to Submit to Sample Collection by an Athlete.
- Whereabouts Failures by an Athlete.
- Tampering or Attempted Tampering with any Part of Doping Control by an Athlete or Other Person.
- Possession of a Prohibited Substance or a Prohibited Method by an Athlete or Athlete Support Person.
- Trafficking or Attempted Trafficking in any Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method by an Athlete or Other Person.
- Administration or Attempted Administration by an Athlete or Other Person to any Athlete In-Competition of any Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method, or Administration to any Athlete Out-Of-Competition of any Prohibited Substance or any Prohibited Method that is Prohibited Out-of-Competition.
- Complicity or Attempted Complicity by an Athlete or Other Person.
- Prohibited Association by an Athlete or Other person.
- Acts by an Athlete or Other Person to Discourage or Retaliate Against Reporting to Authorities.
Proof of Doping
A strict liability approach applies to anti-doping laws. A National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) must prove that an ADVR has occurred. Once a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)- accredited laboratory affirms a positive drug test, the onus of proof then shifts to the athlete to contest this. An athlete or other person may contest this if it can be established that there has been a ‘departure from the International Standards for Laboratories’ which has resulted in the Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF).
Upon notification of your Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) (positive result) and potential ADVR via email, or letter in the mail, you will be given an opportunity to provide an explanation to the AAF which will be reviewed by the Sport Integrity Australia CEO.
You may be issued with a mandatory provisional suspension (ban from the sport). Any time spent serving this mandatory provisional suspension will be deducted from the final ban period.
A voluntary provisional suspension may be imposed which provides you the option to begin your ban before the process is finalised. It’s important to note that if you decide not to serve your voluntary provisional suspension and continue competing, any medals or prizes may be adversely affected.
- You may be requested to voluntarily attend an interview or required to under a ‘Disclosure Notice’ during the investigation process. A failure to comply with a Disclosure Notice is considered a breach of the Sport Integrity Australia Act 2020 and may result in financial penalties.
Letter of Charge
- If Sport Integrity Australia are satisfied that an ADRV has occurred, you will be issued with an Assertion and Letter of Charge confirming this. Depending on your sport, you may wish to:
- Accept the sanction and respective consequences, or
- Challenge the ADVR and/or sanction in a hearing.
Note that if you do not respond within 20 days, you are presumed to have admitted to the ADRV.
- If you are unsatisfied with the sanction, you may have your case heard by the National Sports Tribunal (NST) or your sport’s tribunal. If the ADRV is upheld by the NST, you may appeal the decision to the Appeals Division of the NST, and then to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
- Matters involving international-level clients can be directly appealed to the CAS. The CAS may review the legal and factual merits of your case.
Exemptions – Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE)
A medical certification may exempt an athlete who would ordinarily be in breach of WADC 2021, provided the TUE complies with the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions. TUE’s are provided by the Australian Sports Drug Medical Advisory Committee (ASDMAC) whom also have the power to refuse such applications.
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