Coates targets athletes entourage

AOC, Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The President of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, has embraced the new WADA Code and commenced moves preventing Rio-bound athletes from dealing with coaches, trainers, sports scientists and other support personnel who have violated anti-doping rules.

The new WADA Code does not take effect until January 1st 2015 but Coates has included the "Prohibited Association" clause in documents which all members of the Shadow Team for Rio are obliged to sign.

Coates is working with ASADA and letters have been sent to all National Sporting Federations (NFs) who will identify up to twelve hundred athletes comprising the Shadow Team.

"We totally support the new code and athletes who want to compete in the Australian Olympic Team in Rio need to understand the changes and comply now" Coates said.

Last week Coates advised NFs of the need to be WADA Code compliant by the start of next year, otherwise they risk losing their membership status.

"For a long time now the Olympic Movement has expressed grave concerns about the athlete's entourage, those people who surround the athletes and actively promote and assist in doping. They are a scourge on sport he said. Previously they have been outside the jurisdiction of anti-doping authorities, not any more"

The AOC consent to Shadow Team Membership form says:

"I have not at any time engaged in Prohibited Association as prescribed under Article 2.10 of the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) Code (in effect from 1 January 2015), meaning association in a professional or sport-related capacity with any Athlete Support Personnel who:

(a) is serving a period of Ineligibility; or

(b) has been convicted or found in a criminal, disciplinary or professional proceeding to have engaged in conduct which would have constituted a violation of anti-doping rules; or

(c) is serving as a front or intermediary for an individual described in (a) or (b) above.

"Article 2.10 is simple. It says athletes are forbidden from associating with these people in any professional or sports-related way. They are now off limits, out of the picture totally" Coates said.

Other changes to the WADA Code from January 1 2015 include punishment for athletes caught cheating increasing from a two year ban to four years which would automatically rule them out of the next Olympic Games.