Give ASADA more powers: Coates16 October 2012
Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President, John Coates, has again called for stronger investigative powers, including the authority to compel witnesses to give evidence, as part of the fight against illegal doping in sport.
In a letter to the Federal Minister for Sport, Senator Kate Lundy, Coates said, “I suggest that the Government should again consider strengthening ASADA’s (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) powers to investigate allegations of doping practices by including the power to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence and to produce documents relevant to such investigations.”
Coates was responding to comments by Senator Lundy where she vowed, “the Australian Government, through ASADA, is committed to protecting the health of athletes and the integrity of Australian sport through the elimination of doping.”
Senator Lundy added, “ASADA is constantly improving their techniques and tools, including their investigations and intelligence capabilities, long term storage facilities and profiling approaches.”
While very supportive, Coates, has long held the belief that more must be done to combat drugs in sport. He backed the creation of ASADA in June 2005 but in a submission to the Government argued they had failed to provide ASADA with the necessary and appropriate investigative powers.
Back in 2000 the AOC approached the Government of the day arguing for a “Sports Doping Ombudsman” with “the powers to investigate allegations of doping practices, including the power to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence and produce documents”.
Coates acknowledges that the creation of ASADA eliminated the need for an Ombudsman but he firmly believes in the needs for coercive investigative powers.
Today he repeated a clause contained in the 2006 submission. “The AOC is committed to opposing and, if possible, eliminating, the scourge of cheating in sport through the use of drugs and prohibited methods. AOC experience is that without the power to compel the giving of oral and documentary evidence, many allegations of ADRV’s (anti-doping rule violations) cannot be properly investigated and prosecuted.”