Executive summary

Page last updated: 01 November 2013

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This Review was requested in the wake of disclosures of widespread and systematic doping violations in professional road cycling. The extent of those violations was revealed, in particular, by the Reasoned Decision of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that followed its inquiry into the activities of American cyclist Lance Armstrong and teams of which he was a member. That decision was followed by admissions made by Matt White and Stephen Hodge to having been part of a team where doping had been part of the team's strategy, or to having used performance enhancing drugs while riding professionally. The need for the Review was increased because of the prominent position that has been occupied by cycling in the Australian sporting environment, and because of the harm to the sport and its reputation that these events could potentially cause.

In order to safeguard the future of cycling, its administration and integrity, changes are needed that will impact on aspects of Cycling Australia's (CA) governance, administrative structures and policy positions on several issues. To look at the issue of doping in isolation to these broader considerations would result in an inadequate and piecemeal approach. Accordingly, this Report is broad in its focus and in its recommendations.

The recommendations are wide-ranging but implementable within a 12-month period and should be achieved by the end of 2013.

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Methodology

In completing this Review, I have drawn on the experience and opinions that were provided to me during the 80 or so interviews that were conducted with athletes, coaches, support staff and administrators attached to CA; with senior executives of CA, Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) and Bicycle Motocross Australia (BMXA); with senior executives of the Australian Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games organisations; with staff of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), state/territory institutes/academies of sport, and state/territory and federal offices for sport or allied government agencies; with stakeholders representing the recreational side of cycling; and with executives of other national sporting organisations of comparable standing to CA in the Australian sporting environment.

I have examined a range of documents supplied by ASADA and the ASC that together represent the international and national anti-doping frameworks, comprising anti-doping policies, codes of conduct and anti-doping educational materials. I have also examined a series of documents provided by CA relating to its governance, financial and commercial activities.

My approach has been firstly to identify what is currently occurring within the sport of cycling, what is perceived to be an optimal model for its governance in Australia and whether CA's Anti-Doping Policy is adequate to deal with the problems that have emerged, and secondly to consider the potential strategies that could be implemented by CA, with the support of the government, to address any issues that arise.

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The review in summary

Governance of Cycling Australia

Governance structure and incorporation

CA's governance arrangements are complicated and need to be updated in line with a modern sporting organisation of its size and status. A recommendation is made to incorporate CA as a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), in place of its current incorporation as an association under the Associations Incorporation Act 1991 (ACT). The establishment of a Women's Commission is also recommended.

Integration

A recommendation is made relating to the need for the horizontal integration of the four competitive cycling disciplines of road, track, mountain bike and BMX at the national level.

Introducing a Declaration Policy

An important driver for this Review was the fact that former athletes had been appointed to certain roles in the sport, without consideration of whether or not they had been involved in doping activity. Consistent with the approach that has been announced by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and that has been adopted by some professional road teams, consideration is given to the introduction of a policy requiring certain staff, coaches, athletes and contractors to declare whether they have been involved in past doping activity. Recommendations are made for the adoption of such a policy, including the identification of the persons to whom it should apply and the responses available. Responses would depend on whether or not there was a refusal to provide the declaration, whether the declaration provided was later found to be untrue, and whether the declaration that was made disclosed a history of involvement in doping.

Boards and Commissions

Recommendations are made in relation to the interaction between CA's Board, Executive, Commissions and the Council that represents the state/territory cycling associations, including the need for increasing independent representation on the Board.

Integrity Unit

A key recommendation is made for the establishment of an Integrity Unit within CA to strengthen its commitment to enforcement of its Anti-Doping Policy and general Codes of Conduct.

Office location

CA currently has offices in Sydney and Melbourne. The Sydney office has responsibility for head office management and the Melbourne office for events and commercial operations. CA operates a high performance training centre in Adelaide for road and track and provides support for a BMX high performance centre in the Gold Coast. It also has a presence in Italy where provision is made for accommodation and training within the European environment. Recommendations are made for co-locating the Melbourne and Sydney offices to achieve a closer coordination of CA's national and global activities.

Financial recovery

CA has grown considerably in recent years but its financial position has been precarious. Consideration is given to the steps that have been taken by CA in recent years to recapture the events for which it previously had responsibility. Consideration is also given to its entry into a joint venture with the Grass Roots organisation to develop its commercial opportunities, and to the need for the interests of state/territory cycling associations to be balanced in any reconstruction of the events calendar.

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Cycling Australia's anti-doping strategies

I carried out a review of the anti-doping arrangements that are in force in Australia and of CA's policies, in order to determine whether CA was compliant with the applicable international and national codes and standards, and whether it was sufficiently engaged in combatting doping. As a consequence of that analysis and in reference to the history of doping within the sport, recommendations are made in a number of areas.

Increased focus of Cycling Australia on anti-doping

Recommendations are made in relation to CA taking a more proactive role in gathering intelligence to assist ASADA, and in establishing collaborative relationships with like-minded peak cycling organisations in other countries, and with the Australian Drug Foundation. Additional recommendations are made for the revision and expansion of CA's Code of Conduct for members and for securing athletes' cooperation with ASADA investigations.

Ethics and Integrity Panel

A key recommendation is made for the creation of an Ethics and Integrity Panel to deal with a range of ethical and conduct issues, including doping activity and breaches of the Declaration Policy, and to have responsibility for considering individual cases and advising CA on the appropriate response.

Anti-doping education

The nature and extent of anti-doping education available through ASADA, the ASC and CA were examined and recommendations are made for its enhancement, through adopting an approach that would be more relevant for specific groups of athletes and coaches depending on their experience, and through extending its reach to a wider body of cyclists.

Supplements and warning signs

Recommendations are made to address the concerns of coaches and of medical and sports science staff in relation to the widespread, but not necessarily productive, use of supplements. The risk of inadvertent breaches of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) arising from supplement use is addressed through a recommendation for the creation of a formal system for the reporting and recording of supplement use in a central register at the Adelaide high performance centre, and through placing greater emphasis on the advantages that can be secured through nutrition and training. Recommendations are also made for the adoption of a more formal method of detecting warning signs of doping activity and for its reporting, including the development of a whistle-blower strategy.

Athletes cooperating with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority

Consideration is given to the need to ensure that those persons who fail to cooperate with ASADA investigations are sanctioned appropriately.

Extending the reach of testing

Recommendations are made for supporting the extension of testing, on a random and targeted basis, to events at state/territory, club and Masters level that are subject to either limited or no testing, with modest funding provided by CA.

Support, brokerage and mentoring

Consideration is given to the need for additional support for young riders transitioning to professional teams overseas, and for riders who have been sanctioned for anti-doping violations or other forms of misconduct, including substance abuse. Recommendations are made in relation to the provision of mentoring by senior Australian cyclists for the first group, and support and rehabilitation for the second group.

ASADA Act reform

Some areas for improvement of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Act 2006 (Cth) (ASADA Act) are identified. Recommendations are made in relation to giving ASADA the power to compel persons to attend interviews and provide documents, the removal of any restrictions on information exchange, and the introduction of a local avenue for the review of therapeutic use exemption (TUE) decisions.

Privacy legislation

Consideration will need to be given to ensuring compliance with current federal and state/territory privacy legislation or privacy principles, in relation to the recommendations that require the collection and/or dissemination of information.

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Conclusion

The Review was conducted in the light of the steps that have been taken internationally to combat doping in sport generally and in cycling specifically. Hopefully the impetus for reform will be supported by recent initiatives, including the Review of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) that has been announced, and the proposals advocating reform that have been issued by several organisations representing riders and teams on the World Tour Circuit.

However, there can be no guarantee that doping in cycling will not re-emerge. This Review is intended to place CA in a position where, through reform of its governance and anti-doping responsibilities, it can perform an active role in promoting cycling as a clean and well-managed sport. It is also intended, given the broad review of the Australian cycling community that is provided, to assist in giving greater direction to cycling in Australia, in enhancing participation, in rebuilding the reputation of the sport, and in assisting CA to become more self-sustaining and less reliant on government funding.

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