March 23, 2006 – In response to a number of questions arising at the daily media briefing, I wish to clarify matters relating to the drug testing process and the announcement of the results of any subsequent tests that may arrive.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is undertaking the toughest anti-doping program ever seen at a Commonwealth Games for Melbourne 2006.
As a signatory to the WADA’s World Anti-Doping Code, the CGF has adopted rules that are consistent with that code.
The CGF has forged a very effective working relationship with ASADA who conduct the tests for us in Melbourne.
There will be significantly over 1000 tests conducted during the period of the Games, from the opening of the Village to its closing, across the 4065 athletes here.
This ratio of over 25% of athletes that will be tested in Melbourne compares very favourably with the ratio conducted at any other Games – Commonwealth, Olympic or other.
The CGF Medical Commission oversees the anti-doping program during the Games. It has the responsibility to detect and deter drug cheats. It also has a responsibility to protect athletes’ rights at all times during the process.
To protect the rights of all athletes the CGF will not enter into speculation about whether it knows of the existence of a positive test or otherwise.
The summary of the process relating to drug testing and result management is:
1. The drug test is conducted on selected athletes. 2. The samples are sent to the WADA accredited laboratory in Sydney, who report the result of the A sample analysis in 48 hours from receipt to the CGF Medical Commission. 3. If required, a meeting of the CGF Medical Commission then takes place to determine if there has been a doping violation. 4. If there has been, the case is forwarded to the Federation Court (the Officers of the CGF) for further action, including informing the athlete through his/her Chef de Mission, and providing the athlete with an option to accept the findings or to exercise their right to demand analysis of the B sample. It is at this point that the CGF would impose a provisional suspension upon the athlete but not reveal their identity. 5. If the athlete chooses the option to have the B sample analysed, they have the right to witness, or have a nominee witness, that process, which may involve a trip to Sydney. 6. The B sample then undergoes analysis at the Sydney facility, with another 48 hour turnaround. 7. If after the process there needs to be a hearing, then the case is referred to the Ad-hoc Division of Court of Arbitration for Sport in Melbourne who makes a ruling as to whether or not a doping rule violation has occurred. 8. That ruling is provided to the Federation Court who determines the applicable penalty as it relates to the Games. 9. Only after this final decision by the Federation Court, and only in the case of a guilty verdict, will the CGF make a public statement and inform WADA and the relevant International Federation of the outcome.
Because a breach of the doping rules can only be confirmed after this process, which might take three to four days, but could stretch to eight or more depending on the availability of the range of people and organisations involved, it is not possible to announce on a daily basis the results, even if negative.
The reason for this is that should we then come to a day where a positive result has been found, by not being able to declare a “no positives” or “all negatives” result, the CGF would be effectively declaring that there has been a positive.
This immediately leads to a breach of our own protocols and the confidentiality that is required to protect the rights of the athlete.
Because the athlete’s name or sport cannot be declared under our protocols, such daily announcements would also cast a doubt over every athlete who competed on that day. That is clearly unacceptable as it is unfair to the athletes.
While this leads to some consternation from the media that we are not providing updates, our goal remains to deter and catch drug cheats and, at the same time, to protect the rights of the athletes participating at these Games.
Hence our position remains:
The CGF will not enter into speculation about the drug testing process. If and when there is something to report, we will report it, openly and fearlessly, as we are an organisation that is committed to the fight against drugs in sport.
For further information, contact Ian Chesterman +61 417 530 902