J34 has presented a Submission to the Sports Minister for consideration on the development of the National Sports Plan. The document was prepared before the announcement of the Sports Integrity Review. However, a separate note was sent with the submission in response to the appointment of Howman to the Review Panel and appears below
Please find attached my submission for consideration in the establishment of the National Sports Plan.
At the time of completion of this submission the Minister of Sport, Greg Hunt, announced a review into Integrity of Australian Sport. Mr Hunt also stated that ex- Director General of WADA, David Howman, had been appointed as a member of the Review Panel.
Australian sports fans, and athletes, would be perplexed and concerned about this appointment given that Mr Howman presided over WADA during the period when a Russian State sponsored program involving doping of Olympic athletes was uncovered by German media, which revealed that WADA officials hand “sat on their hands” for nearly four years, ignoring statements and warnings by whistle-blowers and fellow members within the Olympic movement.
U.S. Republican Senator, John Thune, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over U.S. sports, and contributes a significant amount of tax-payers money to finance WADA (U.S.$25m), sent a 7-page letter to WADA criticising the agency for letting at least four years pass before pursuing tips from Russian whistle-blowers, and for containing its ultimate investigation to Russian track and field in spite of claims that cheating transcended sports and implicated other countries.
Despite comments from WADA officials that claimed that a reason for the slow response was the fear for the safety of whistle-blowers Senator Thune said “officials’ concerns for the personal safety of whistle-blowers only raised questions about whether the regulator had proper policies in place to solicit information and protect people from retaliation”. He also said in the letter that “WADA’s excuse for its long delay in aggressively investigating these allegations overlooks the fact that the evidence WADA received from the whistle-blowers centered on allegations of corruption at the WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratory in Moscow and at the Russian national anti-doping agency, both of which are under WADA’s direct oversight.”
The Senator Thune Committee letter requested answers to 11 specific questions — five of them focused on potential conflicts of interest among WADA’s leadership.
Mr Howman, as an executive member of WADA, was ultimately responsible for the integrity of the WADA Code and WADA Banned Substances List. As a Medical Scientist I am abhorred at the lack of scientific rigor employed by the WADA Medical and Scientific Review Panel in making recommendations for inclusion of a substance onto the banned list. For example the addition of Meldonium onto the banned list on January 1st 2016 completely overlooked a basic scientific element of a substance profile – pharmacokinetic studies. An unforgiveable error considering how many athletes were duped into believing they were drug cheats.
These same sports fans and athletes, mentioned above, would ask the question that if we are looking to establish an Australian anti-doping framework, one customised for Australian athletes, and including non-Olympic Sports and indigenous team sports such as the AFL, why do we need to employ David Howman, who brings experience from an organisation beset with governance, integrity and conflict of interest issues and lacking rigor in medical science. Surely our country has individuals, including athletes, with the experience, integrity, reputation, together with a strong and relevant skill set that can provide a world’s best practice outcome for our athletes and the population that supports them.
… on behalf of Justice for the 34.