In the midst of worldwide doping scandals within the realm of sports, the Australian Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is seeing its budget and operating staff numbers slashed.
Less than 70 days away from the 2016 Olympic Games’ opening ceremony, according to Inside The Games the ASADA has confirmed budget cuts will impact all areas of its operation, resulting in an overall reduction in budget of 20% and a reduction of staff from 78 to 50.
“In the financial year ending 2014, ASADA had a total of 78 staff. By 2017, this will drop to 50,” the agency says. “This has had impacts across all of ASADA’s functions, including our testing, investigative, education and administrative units.”
Says Catherine Ordway, a sports lawyer who worked for ASADA, “The last couple of years must have been really been extremely difficult for ASADA to manage given the limited resources and the turnover of staff they’ve had during that period.”
Although just one Australian swimmer in the form of 2012 Olympic Kylie Palmer made headlines due to a doping test failure, the AFL and NRL (football) have seen 34 past and present players failing drug tests. According to Ordway, ASADA bore the costly AFL and NRL cases because of its obligation under WADA’s strict code.
Despite the cuts, the ASADA is hopeful and focused, with a spokesman for sports minister Sussan Ley stating, “Education, intelligence and testing is ASADA’s number one priority this year and we are satisfied the authority is conducting a high-standard, rigorous anti-doping program in the lead up to Rio.”