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Engagement and partnerships

Engagement and partnerships: 2019–20 at a glance

Athlete Advisory Group

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's (ASADA) shared mission was to build trust with athletes, sporting bodies and fans alike to allow everyone the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. It was identified that this mission would benefit from listening directly to the 'athlete’s voice' and so came the Athlete Advisory Group (AAG).

The AAG informed ASADA's strategic direction through the provision of insights into the pressures and influences in sport increasing the risk and temptation to dope.

The AAG provided opportunities for athletes to contribute meaningfully to the fight against doping. It comprised clean athletes and those who committed an anti-doping rule violation. Each member offered valuable information and experiences about how they responded to their environment and how athletes in similar circumstances can be helped to avoid the risk and/or temptation to dope.

The AAG was made up of the following current and former athletes:

  • Alicia Quirk OAM: Olympic gold medalist in 7s rugby at the Rio Olympics
  • Bronwyn Thompson: Commonwealth Games gold medalist in long jump, Commonwealth and Australian record holder1
  • Chloe Esposito OAM: Olympic gold medalist in the modern pentathlon
  • Chris Bond: 2-time Paralympic gold medalist in wheelchair rugby
  • Katrina Fanning: 26 tests for the Australian Women’s Rugby League Team, Chair of the Australian Rugby League (ARL) Indigenous Council and Canberra Raiders board member
  • Cassie Fien: 2-time winner of Sydney’s City2Surf – tested positive to higenamine from a contaminated supplement, sanctioned for 9 months2
  • Michael Gallagher OAM: Paralympic gold medalist at the 2008 and 2012 games – tested positive to EPO in Italy in July 2016 and was disqualified from competing at the Rio Paralympics
  • Petria Thomas OAM: 3-time Olympic swimming gold medalist, Gymnastics Australia General Manager, High Performance
  • Tom Symonds: Former Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles National Rugby League (NRL) player

The AAG had 2 face-to-face meetings in 2019–20. In addition, they took part in a number of phone and video meetings as well as received monthly communications in regards to significant ASADA updates.

Collaborative Partnership Agreement with the University of Canberra

A Collaborative Partnership Agreement (the partnership), announced in 2018–19 between ASADA and the University of Canberra (UC), saw opportunities for both organisations to work on a range of projects related to science, education, innovation, technology, intelligence, communications and leadership.

Under the partnership, ASADA coordinated a national conference themed around leadership in sport and a series of complementary workshops. UC hosted the conference. The conference saw leaders in sport, research, law enforcement, intelligence and integrity come together with the intent to positively influence Australia’s sports integrity partnerships, systems and governance, now and into the future.

ASADA has a strong focus on working with athletes and sporting bodies through partnerships and education programs. The partnership with UC (with its sporting presence and health-aligned courses) is a further example of ASADA’s commitment to partnerships for the ultimate benefit of Australia’s sporting community.

UC student placement – a partnership with mutual benefits

The collaboration with UC, through professional placement of UC Students in ASADA, continued this year. Two third-year Applied Science in Forensic Studies students were given the opportunity to undertake a professional placement with ASADA's Science Team. The placement allowed ASADA to leverage UC’s desire to advance a priority project, while providing the students exposure to ASADA's operating environment, Australia’s sports integrity landscape and broader experience within government.

They also gained insight into the application of science to the range of ASADA's operations and key issues involved in anti-doping science. While undertaking their placements, the students continued building a substance database for ASADA. Students applied their research skills to develop an information piece about substances of interest and develop their skills in communicating science to non-scientists.

Leadership in Sport conference – 20/20 Vision

The Leadership in Sport conference, presented by ASADA, the National Integrity of Sport Unit (NISU), Sport Australia, highlighted the importance of collaboration in the pursuit of success.

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, the Minister for Youth and Sport, officially opened the Leadership in Sport conference at UC on 28 November 2019.

Titled 20/20 Vision, the conference provided a platform for sporting organisations, sports integrity units, private industry and government to learn from each other, and identified the benefits of working together to tackle the threats to sports integrity head on.

Minister Colbeck discussed the changes in sports integrity arrangements resulting from the Wood Review, in particular the National Sports Tribunal and the role Sport Integrity Australia can and will play for sports.

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, the Minister for Youth and Sport.
Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Youth and Sport, officially opens the conference.

Andrew Traver, the former Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in the United States (US), was the keynote speaker on day one. Mr Traver discussed accountability and transparency, as well as effective collaboration with non-traditional partners and how to overcome resistance to change. He also emphasised the value of utilising subject matter experts to deliver quality information and knowledge.

Andrew Traver, the former Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Keynote speaker Andrew Traver, former Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

A panel, headed by Swimming Australia CEO, Leigh Russell, Rowing Australia CEO, Ian Robson, Leading Teams co-founder, Ray McLean and specialist consultant, Danielle Fraillon, discussed how to embed ethical practices and frameworks through change management. They spoke of the need to be fully engaged in every aspect of the organisation in which you lead. They also emphasised the need to learn, grow and embrace the tough times so as ‘not to waste a crisis’.

Swimming Australia CEO, Leigh Russell, Rowing Australia CEO, Ian Robson, Leading Teams co-founder, Ray McLean, and specialist consultant, Danielle Fraillon.
Panel with Swimming Australia CEO, Leigh Russell, Rowing Australia CEO, Ian Robson, Leading Teams co-founder, Ray McLean, and specialist consultant, Danielle Fraillon.

A legal presentation, titled Court of Public Opinion, featuring sports lawyer, Brianna Quinn, the Head of Canberra Law School, Benedict Sheehy, and Director of Sports Law Studies at the University of Melbourne, Professor Jack Anderson, wrapped up day one. This presentation discussed the role of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, the place the law has in sport and how perception is often different to reality when it comes to sport and the law.

The day concluded with an emphasis on the heightened risk to cyber security in the current environment with all participants encouraged to collaborate, share experiences and ensure data security as much as possible.

Australian Olympic Committee CEO, Matt Carroll, was the keynote speaker on day 2. Mr Carroll provided an overview of the preparations underway in Tokyo ahead of the 2021 Olympic Games and the preparedness of the Australian team.

Australian Olympic Committee CEO, Matt Carroll.
Australian Olympic Committee CEO, Matt Carroll.

He was followed by a Major Event Security workshop, run by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), which looked at the steps sports needed to have in place when travelling overseas, with the AFP offering to guide sports through a checklist of requirements.

The second workshop on day 2 examined how public-private partnerships operate in intelligence, in particular when it comes to maintaining integrity. Presentations were made by AUSTRAC’s Acting Manager, Intelligence Partnerships, Leilani Moffat, TABCORP’s General Manager, Financial Crime Risk, Armina Antoniou, and Basketball Australia Head of Integrity, Simon Bishop.

AUSTRAC Acting Manager, Intelligence Partnerships, Leilani Moffat
AUSTRAC Acting Manager, Intelligence Partnerships, Leilani Moffat.
TABCORP General Manager, Financial Crime Risk, Armina Antoniou
TABCORP General Manager, Financial Crime Risk, Armina Antoniou.

The conference concluded with the screening of the Media Stockade documentary Power Meri, which examined the barriers faced by women in Papua New Guinea to play rugby league, with the game seen as the domain of men in that country. The women, through perseverance, eventually formed a team and played in the women’s Rugby League World Cup in Australia in 2017.

It was a fitting conclusion to the conference which highlighted the importance of ethical leadership, the value of culture, how sport can be used to tackle societal issues, and the benefits of breaking down barriers not only across sports, but between sports and government, in order to see sports grow and prosper with integrity.

The ‘first face’ of ASADA

ASADA field staff were crucial in establishing and consolidating anti-doping behaviours and awareness in athletes across Australia. They were the ‘first face’ of ASADA and were imperative in shaping ASADA’s reputation. 2019–20 promised a new and enhanced structure for field staff and this was delivered by recruiting key personnel to enhance the coordination, training and accreditation of the Doping Control Officers (DCO) and Chaperones. The recruitment of State Managers saw increased engagement between ASADA and sports and venue managers, which was crucial given the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the anti-doping testing environment. The introduction of a National Training Coordinator saw the delivery of an enhanced accreditation process and a refinement of key ASADA documentation.

ASADA field staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ASADA field staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Training Coordinator was located in the Australian Capital Territory with the State Managers located in:

  • Queensland
  • New South Wales
  • Victoria
  • Australian Capital Territory (also managing Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia).

In October 2019, the annual Doping Control Officer (DCO) conference was held in Canberra bringing together the DCOs from across Australia. The conference reiterated their importance to all areas of the anti-doping environment including investigations and intelligence. Further, Chaperone conferences were conducted in Western Australia and Queensland.

Key achievements of 2019–20 include:

  • The delivery of new uniforms which were well received by both field staff and athletes
  • The transition to electronic timesheets
  • A number of ASADA DCOs were successful in their applications to work at the Tokyo 2020 (2021) Summer Olympics, which confirms the high regard the ASADA field staff have internationally.

International engagement

ASADA, in line with Australian Government policy, was committed to capacity building to strengthen regional and global anti-doping efforts aimed at ‘closing the gap’ between varying international capabilities. ASADA strove to ensure Australian athletes can compete on a more level playing field around the globe.

In partnership with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), ASADA actively pursued programs in the Oceania and Asia regions to coordinate the engagement and development of National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) capabilities, either bilaterally or through the respective Regional Anti-Doping Organisations (RADOs). ASADA’s international engagement plan aligned with the vision of Sports Diplomacy 2030, which is to strengthen Australian sport and opportunities for athletes globally to enable their full potential. This supports our national interests.

The Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADOs) collaborated with ASADA on a concept to develop a NADOs capability register. The aim of the register is to inform the iNADOs membership of the skills and qualifications of the group and to help us all understand the collective capabilities of the iNADOs members. The register is a tool to deliver information about particular skill sets among NADOs, which could be called upon:

  • to build anti-doping capabilities, share expertise and specialist information
  • to prevent duplication of effort and to enhance coordination of effort
  • to strengthen capacity and support to other NADOs at times of need or staff shortages
  • to raise awareness among members by mapping developments to coordinate effort and remove duplication.

ASADA also collaborated with iNADO to provide subject expertise to its inaugural ‘IT Security Discussion Group’, the aim being to identify cyber risks and prevention methods for NADOs. This was in response to an increased global threat to anti-doping organisations who are responsible for ensuring the protection of sensitive athlete data.

ASADA contributed to the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) Anti-Doping working group meeting in Lyon, France, titled Project Energia. This project helps countries to understand and combat the trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs by providing relevant and up-to-date criminal analysis. The workshop evaluated the first pilot phase of the project, discussing the findings and insights on the supply of and demand for performance-enhancing drugs.

WADA approved a joint Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU) hosted by the Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory and including ASADA and Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ). This joint APMU actively supported the Oceania Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (ORADO) to utilise the capability.

In the lead up to the postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, a taskforce was established consisting of representatives from several NADOs, including ASADA. The taskforce will continue to make recommendations for testing to sample collections agencies with testing authority (other NADOs and international federations) over athletes as part of pre-Olympic testing.

International co-operation and engagement are integral to the pursuit of clean sport globally and was a key element of ASADA’s strategic vision. In 2019–20, ASADA engaged with a number of countries and anti-doping bodies to further the anti-doping cause for Australian athletes and the broader sporting community:​


  • The National Anti-Doping Agency Austria (NADA Austria) and ASADA have an agreement in place to enhance each organisations’ online anti-doping education. The objective of the agreement is to share existing education resources, collaborate on the development of new or revised education resources and conduct meetings aimed at sharing experience and knowledge in the field of anti-doping education.

ASADA CEO, David Sharpe, and NADA Austria CEO, Michael Cepic, at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.
ASADA CEO, David Sharpe, and NADA Austria CEO, Michael Cepic, at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.


  • ASADA signed an agreement with Anti-Doping Denmark which includes sharing existing education resources, collaborating on the development of new or revised education resources and conducting meetings aimed at sharing experience and knowledge in the field of anti-doping education.


  • ASADA continued to assist the Indian National Anti-Doping Agency to bolster its anti-doping capabilities. ASADA provided a subject expert to speak at the Regional Symposium on Anti-Doping in Asia, in New Delhi, to present about matters relating to risk assessment analysis for test distribution planning leading into the Olympics.

New Zealand

  • ASADA and DFSNZ have an ongoing informal agreement to continue working collaboratively on a range of anti-doping issues.
  • ASADA collaborated with DFSNZ and the US Anti-Doping Agency on education and innovation projects.

South Korea

  • ASADA partnered with the Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory (ASDTL) and DFSNZ to work together as a new APMU, with ASDTL being the lead organisation. Korea Anti-Doping Agency (KADA) has joined this APMU.

Sri Lanka

  • ASADA was part way through a 4-year Memorandum of Understanding with Sri Lanka to develop the Sri Lankan Anti-Doping Agency’s (SLADA) capabilities by sharing knowledge and experience in relation to its functions. Sport Integrity Australia will continue this work.
  • ASADA worked in collaboration with the Australian Federal Police to deliver foundation intelligence training to SLADA through a 2-day workshop in Sri Lanka.


  • ASADA contributed to global discussions by sending a representative to the first session of the China Anti-Doping Agency International Anti-Doping Symposium.


  • ASADA contributed to global discussions by attending the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Science Symposium and collaborated with USADA on education, health effects videos, testing missions and broader anti-doping capabilities.

ASADA’s multilateral collaborations have provided a significant benefit to the organisation by increasing its influence on the world anti-doping stage. In addition, these collaborations allowed ASADA to enhance its own capabilities through exposure to a broader range of anti-doping strategies.

An example of strengthening global anti-doping capabilities

ASADA partners with Austria to help spread the anti-doping message

In November 2019, ASADA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NADA Austria during the World Conference on Doping in Sport to enhance each organisations’ online anti-doping education.

The objective of this MoU is to share existing education resources, collaborate on the development of new or revised education resources, and conduct meetings aimed at sharing experience and knowledge in the field of anti-doping education.

ASADA CEO, David Sharpe, said collaborations such as this are key to strengthening the anti-doping message around the world.

‘Protecting clean athletes from the threat of doping is at the core of everything ASADA does,’ Mr Sharpe said.

‘Since all athletes are equal under the World Anti-Doping Code, it is imperative that they all have access to the same information and education. For this reason, ASADA is committed to working internationally with its national anti-doping partners to close any gaps and strengthen our own programs. Collaboration such as this is mutually beneficial and only serves to benefit the clean sport movement worldwide.’

In particular, ASADA will be sharing its award-winning Level 1 course, which has been completed by more than 70,000 Australian athletes to date, and working collaboratively with NADA Austria on revised courses for coaches, medical practitioners and others.

NADA Austria CEO, Michael Cepic is convinced that the MoU will help promote health, fairness and equality for athletes worldwide.

‘It’s a great opportunity to share experience and ensure the effectiveness of our programs in preventing doping in sport,’ Mr Cepic said.

‘The upcoming ‘International Standard for Education’ is very important to protect clean athletes. The new developments in our digital learning strategy will help federations and sport organisations to comply with the obligations of this new standard.’

Partners in science

ASADA’s partnerships in anti-doping science were enhanced through the establishment of a collaborative APMU by the ASDTL (within the National Measurement Institute), DFSNZ and ASADA. The APMU is responsible for reviewing Athlete Biological Passports (ABPs) and making recommendations for follow-up actions. Through the joint venture, scientists from each organisation can review ABPs in collaboration, taking advantage of the different expertise each member brings to the table. The APMU recognises the importance of strong partnerships between laboratories and anti-doping organisations in order to deliver the most effective anti-doping system.

KADA and ORADO both utlised the APMU as clients. Through the APMU, collaboration included supporting capability development in KADA and ORADO and promoting efforts to level the international playing field.

In November 2019, scientists from ASDTL and ASADA travelled to Montreal to undertake APMU training with WADA. In December 2019, scientists from ASDTL, DFSNZ, ASADA and KADA gathered at ASDTL to share the outcomes from the WADA training, collaborate on the APMU processes and to continue sharing knowledge and experiences across the organisations.

ASADA Science Officer, Edwin Castillo (second from right) attending APMU training in Montreal, Canada
ASADA Science Officer, Edwin Castillo (second from right), attending APMU training in Montreal, Canada.


  1. Membership ceased December 2019
  2. Membership commenced February 2020