World Anti-Doping Agency boss David Howman, who is in Australia to meet senior government and sporting officials and speak at a sports law conference, said he believes the support staff members who oversaw the injection program are the primary culprits in the Essendon drugs scandal.
Howman added the primary culprits are not the 34 footballers that the anti-doping agency will bring next month before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The appeal of WADA before CAS begins in Sydney on November 16.
The WADA director-general defended decision of the anti-doping agency to rehear the doping case against former and current Essendon players who have already lost three seasons to the doping scandal. Howman remarked it is the support staff that advised or cajoled athletes to break the laws but said he does not want to name them as he does not have enough detail. The WADA head said it is a bit like the team doctors on the Tour de France who were pushing the stuff to the teams in such a way that they were the responsible guys and the guys on the teams were being told that they have got to take it to stay on the team.
Howman also said there had been a huge increase in the engagement of the criminal underworld in the trade of anabolic androgenic steroids, anti-ageing peptides, and other banned substances. He also commented that this business was very profitable and even legal in some jurisdictions.
In the last few years, growth of these drugs has witnessed exponential heights and the target market is not exclusively athletes but image-conscious young people and old people who want to live and stay sexually active for longer.
Stephen Dank, the architect of the injection regimes at Cronulla and Essendon, is currently serving a life ban from sport. The sports scientist was found guilty of multiple doping offences. Dean Robinson, his supervisor at Essendon and the Gold Coast Suns, former high-performance manager, has never been charged with a doping offence.
Howman said the World Anti-Doping Agency took only 30 of a possible 2500 doping decisions on average to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in any given year. The WADA chief said these are cases that it considers are at odds with WADA’s interpretation of anti-doping rules. The World Anti-Doping Agency boss also advocated for the establishment of a global sports integrity agency and it to be funded jointly by government and sport. Howman said this agency should emphasize on uncovering bribery, corruption, money laundering, fraud and illegal betting estimated to be worth between $1 trillion and $3 trillion a year.
Howman also warned against anti-doping bodies who try to replicate the work of police agencies and added it was more effective for one to partner the other. Recently, the World Anti-Doping Agency was associated in Operation Cyber Juice under which a series of raids conducted last month by law enforcement agencies in the US, Britain, Denmark, Germany and Canada on “kitchen laboratories” supplying anabolic steroids and other kinds of performance enhancing drugs.