Anti Doping in Sport

The use of drugs in sport or “doping” has been the subject of significant media attention in recent times.

Generally, the use of any illicit substance or performance-enhancing drug in sport, or in a sporting context is prohibited.  The ban on illicit and performance enhancing drugs helps to promote “fair play” in both amateur and professional sport, to foster a healthy environment for the athletes, and to advance a “clean” public image.

The two main bodies that regulate anti-doping in Australia are:

WADA – World Anti-Doping Agency
ASADA – Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority
WADA is an independent international anti-doping body responsible for managing and monitoring sports doping around the world. WADA is given responsibilities and powers by the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code).

The Code is the core set of anti-doping rules that apply to all sports, in all countries (with some exceptions) and works in conjunction with the 5 International Anti-Doping Standards. The aim is to make sure that sports around the world are bound by the same anti-doping rules.

ASADA is the Australian body working to eliminate doping in all sports in Australia. ASADA co-ordinates Australia’s anti-doping policies; conducts education activities, investigations, and drug testing in order to comply with the Code.

Anti-doping case examples we’ve acted in:

  • World champion tested positive for minute traces of an asthma medication, but does not have asthma – charges dismissed;
  • Now discredited specialist doctor (suspended for 10 years)  prescribed steroids un-knowingly to two of our client athletes – one had charges dismissed, the other received a long ban;
  • After partying for end of uni, our elite athlete client stirred his powder supplement into his red wine at 3am; unintentional – minor ban;
  • Mark Thompson in the Essendon supplements case demonstrated that he had opposed the use of injections and experimental drugs, especially without approval – modest fine instead of a suspension as others received;
  • Elite athlete, during a period of suspension from sport, trafficked illicit drugs; investigation to prosecute for a breach of the WADA code – after detailed submissions, charges dismissed;
  • Elite professional athlete in Australia charged for using an asthma medication without a TUE (approval to take that substance); due to a pending WADA rule change, we argued the new rule should apply and it succeeded (lex meteor) – athlete’s team won the sport’s Australian championship weeks after;
  • Lower level weekend athlete charged for using non-approved medication (no TUE) for reproductive challenges – initial explanations failed but succeeded on appeal;
  • Athlete ordered a product online on his phone while sitting in his work van over lunch for fat burning; guilty of offence once order is placed – product sent from overseas was clenbuterol; athlete unaware a banned product, small penalty reduction;
  • Ligandrol found in client’s sample at a training event – unable to identify source despite testing numerous supplements may have had contact with; able to halve the penalty with character evidence and other proof of no benefits from the very small amount of the drug detected (Shayna Jack).  

How can we help?

SportsLawyer offers a range of services to assist athletes, coaches and sporting bodies and others in anti-doping matters.  These services may include:

  • Advice and representation to athletes and others who are the subject of actual or potential anti-doping violations
  • Advising on, and conducting anti-doping investigations
  • Drafting anti-doping policy and procedures for sporting bodies that comply with national and international standards
  • Conducting education activities in respect of anti-doping laws