“We’ve raised that issue with them and it appears to be just an oversight,” ASADA chief executive David Sharpe said.
Dr Catherine Ordway, an anti-doping expert and law lecturer at the University of Canberra, said Dank’s absence from the list was highly conspicuous given his life ban and that other Australians had been added in the past.
“I would have thought he’d be No.1 candidate for that list, if Australia was going to put anyone on there. Having said that, Stephen Dank seems to have only looked at Australian sport, so we don’t know whether he’s internationally influencing clubs or teams,” Dr Ordway said.
“But the point of this list is to make sure other teams and clubs are alerted before employing people like Dank, so we don’t have a situation where they are blind. He has a life ban, so that’s a very clear case for putting him on the Prohibited Association List.”
The list is an important document that serves as a reference tool for sports, clubs or organisations, especially if they are hiring staff. It was originally built for medical staff and doctors that had been caught doping but has been expanded to coaches, trainers and even parents who have anti-doping violations.
ASADA will cease to exist as of next Wednesday as it is rolled into a new organisation, Sport Integrity Australia. Sharpe, a former Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner, will remain at the helm of the new body.
He said one of the critical changes in the anti-doping arena from next week would be a streamlining of the system to reduce delays in the process, for which ASADA has been criticised.
Swimmer Shayna Jack is still to appeal a four-year ban before a Court of Arbitration of Sport hearing nearly a year after she tested positive to prohibited substance Ligandrol. There has been no announcement yet either about the results of Bronson Xerri’s B-sample, after the Cronulla NRL player’s positive test for anabolic steroids.
Sharpe admitted the process was too long. He said several years had been spent presenting to James Wood, the former royal commissioner into police corruption in NSW, and his review of Australia’s sports integrity about de-complicating the process, the result of which is the scrapping of the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel and the introduction of the National Sports Tribunal.
He said that would reduce the impact on the mental health of those hit with doping violations. He also defended ASADA in its final days.
“ASADA is here delivering a body of work that protects sports and makes it a level playing field but at every angle of what we do we’re heavily criticised – and generally the criticism comes from people who are ill-informed and don’t know the processes,” Sharpe said. “At the end of the day, we’re here to get facilitators and cheats.”
Sport Integrity Australia won’t initially have a focus on sports betting and match fixing but will eventually be set up as a one-stop shop for all integrity matters.
Chris Barrett is Chief Sports Reporter of The Sydney Morning Herald.