Severe Ban For Convicted Athlete Support Personnel Under New Code

Under the new World Anti-Doping Agency code to be introduced next year, any athlete-support personnel convicted of doping offences out of the Essendon-Cronulla supplements scandal will become persona non grata in elite sport for a period of at least six years.

A warning was issued to the national sports federations by Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates at the annual general meeting of the AOC. It was stated that any athlete or organization, from next year, which is associated with a “prohibited person’’ would also face sanctions. Coates, the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee and president of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport, remarked all sports that signed up to the World Anti-Doping Agency code required to be aware of the new rules.

The new WADA code also emphasizes on “athlete entourage’’ — coaches, managers, trainers, sports scientists or medical staff who may assist in administering or providing banned substances to athletes. Coates remarked that a rule “Prohibited Association’’ would make it a violation for any athlete or organization to be associated “in a professional or sports-related capacity’’ with a support person who is found guilty of a doping offence for at least six years after their conviction. Under the new anti-doping rules, all ­personnel who work with elite athletes or organizations would have to agree to be bound by the anti-doping rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Coates also remarked that we know that doping frequently involves coaches, trainers and other athlete support personnel, and in many cases they are outside the jurisdiction of anti-doping authorities. In the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority case, Stephen Dank, the sports scientist at the centre of the supplements scandal, has refused to co-operate with the investigation team.

The AOC president added he believed anyone who is sanctioned as a result of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation into substances used at the Cronulla and Essendon clubs would also be declared a “prohibited person’’ once the new WADA code was introduced next year. This rule will bar a “prohibited person” from being a part of elite or professional sport for at least six years though there would be an exemption for athletes who have a close family relationship with the prohibited person. The AOC president also said the “prohibited association’’ rule could only be invoked if an athlete had been informed previously of the prohibition and the consequences of continued association.

In November, the Australian Olympic Committee will update its anti-doping by-law for reflecting the new WADA code and will draw specific attention to the “prohibited association’’ rule in its team agreement for the 2016 Rio Games.

In another development, Australia has named a senior police official to take the reins of its national anti-doping agency. Ben McDevitt, a career policeman, replaces the outgoing chief executive of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), Aurora Andruska. McDevitt’s appointment was welcomed by Coates who remarked McDevitt was perfectly positioned “for the new emphasis on investigations and intelligence gathering in the fight to protect clean athletes. Coates added sports minister Peter Dutton and the Australian government are clearly signaling their intention to continue to obtain, access, and process anti-doping intelligence from all available sources by making this appointment.

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