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Sports Minister wants recommendations by Christmas
The Australian Federal Sports Minister, Senator Kate Lundy has formally announced a review into Cycling Australia in the wake of the USADA report into Lance Armstrong and his associates. The report claimed the scalp of Australian Matt White, and his role with Cycling Australia as men's professional road co-ordinator. He was also later dismissed by Orica-GreenEdge. The process of White's sacking led to retired rider Stephen Hodge, resigning from the position as Cycling Australia's vice president.
White has said that he was "part of a team where doping formed part of the team's strategy, and I too was involved in that strategy. My involvement is something I am not proud of and I sincerely apologise to my fans, media, family and friends who trusted me and also to other athletes in my era that consciously chose not to dope."
Hodge admitted to using EPO, cortisone and other substances from 1989 until his retirement in 1996 - something he deemed necessary in order to be able to compete at the Tour de France and the Olympic Games.
This year, Cycling Australia received $7.3 million in Federal funding, adding to the high stakes-nature of the review. At its helm will be respected retired former New South Wales Supreme Court chief judge James Wood.
"There have been serious implications for Australian cycling following the release of the explosive United States Anti-Doping Agency report confirming sophisticated doping programs infiltrated the sport at the elite level," said Senator Lundy.
"In the wake of the resignation of the Australian officials involved in these doping programs, it is important for Cycling Australia and the thousands of competitive cyclists in Australia that we move quickly to ensure the confidence and trust of the Australian public is restored in cycling's governing body."
Wood will make recommendations to the Australian Sports Commission and also the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority. The review will not have any bearing on investigations currently underway by ASADA.
The Review will:
• Consider whether Cycling Australia's governance and administrative policies and practices are accountable and effective in ensuring the integrity of the sport is maintained and make recommendations for any improvements;
• Examine Cycling Australia's current recruitment, employment and appointment practices (particularly in relation to past doping activity) for all current and future Cycling Australia athletes, coaches, athlete support personnel, staff and board members including a requirement to provide declarations that they have not been involved in any past anti-doping violation or activity including doping (or related activity such as blood doping) in sport;
• Consider and advise on actions Cycling Australia can take to improve recruitment, employment and appointment policies and practices;
• Consider and advise on the range of sanctions that would be appropriate for breaches of these obligations, both now and in the future including approaches that could be taken if any Cycling Australia employee or appointee failed to act after gaining an awareness of past doping violation/s or activity by another individual;
• Recommend an appropriate approach in the instance that an individual is implicated in past doping activity but maintains their innocence;
• Examine anti-doping policies and practices of Cycling Australia and comment on their compliance with the WADA Code and ASADA requirements;
• Provide advice on the effectiveness of the implementation of Cycling Australia's current anti-doping policies and practices and provide advice on any improvement that should be made to Cycling Australia's anti-doping policies and practices; and
• Examine the effectiveness of the anti-doping education program provided to athletes, coaches and staff by Cycling Australia in co-operation with ASADA.
Lundy said that she is expecting an expedited process with Wood's recommendations handed down before Christmas.