2012 was the final year of the 2009-2012 Multi-Year Policy Plan. Although there will be an evaluation of this plan in the first six months of 2013, it is clear that most of the stated objectives were achieved during the period covered by the plan. The departures from the plan resulted from the cuts implemented by government during the planning period.
In the latter half of 2012, the new Multi-Year Policy Plan - for 2013-2016 - was drafted and adopted. The title given to the plan was Between Ambition and Reality, which expresses the conflict between what is desirable and what is feasible. The plan was completed before the Armstrong case hit the headlines and so it does not include the possible implications of this case for the Doping Authority.
In the news
In 2012, the Doping Authority was in the news on many occasions, in most cases as a source of expert and objective comment on current events and as an organisation that provides compact and reliable information for journalists and others involved in publicity relating to doping.
The publicity relating to the Dutch Whereabouts app launched in February 2012 was very positive. This innovation was seen as an important way of helping elite athletes in the National Testing Pool (NTP) to fulfil their obligations in as user-friendly a way as possible. Another enjoyable and informative activity was the series of radio broadcasts in the Lunch programme that the NCRV broadcasting organisation devoted to the Doping Authority.
In the early months of 2012, it looked as though the investigations looking at the doping record of the American cyclist Lance Armstrong would fail to produce any result but, in the latter half of the year, the USADA published its condemnation of Armstrong. This case alone generated an unprecedented wave of publicity that involved the Doping Authority, but it also generated more and more questions about other cyclists (including Dutch cyclists) and cycling in general. Towards the end of the year, furthermore, there were signs that an increasing number of journalists were starting to look at other sports.
The number of cases resulting in disciplinary proceedings was virtually unchanged from 2011. Improvements in the quality of the disciplinary proceedings - in particular at the Institute for Sports Law (ISR) - meant that the majority of the cases were completed in accordance with the regulations in first instance and so the number of appeals was limited. In 2012, the Doping Authority did not have to submit any judgements at all to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. The Doping Authority was involved in an advisory capacity in a number of CAS cases.
In 2012, anti-doping organisations from other countries passed on a strikingly high number of cases to us for disciplinary proceedings. In cases of this kind, proof can be difficult because the organisations transferring the cases to us are not willing or able to provide the required evidence. As a result, cases in which this is expected to be a problem are no longer taken into consideration.
In 2012, the Doping Authority was also involved - as the instigator of a case or as an adviser to the athlete - in a number of cases in which in-depth follow-up investigations were required to determine the athlete's degree of guilt or negligence. The risk of violating the doping regulations unintentionally continues to be significant, and this includes positive findings as a result of eating contaminated food or contaminated nutritional supplements.
In 2012, collaboration with both our principals was perhaps more intensive than ever. There were extensive consultations with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport about the Doping Act announced by the Minister for 2013. Furthermore, in the latter half of the year under review, there were constructive consultations about the possible upgrading of the position of the Doping Authority.
THE NOC*NSF has an established a Doping Sounding Board Group comprising seven directors from sports associations. The Doping Authority CEO attends the meetings of this group in order to facilitate optimal coordination with 'the sports'.
At the national level, the goal is to establish closer cooperation with relevant organisations. In one case, an agreement was established to regulate the terms of a partnership. The higher public profile of the Doping Authority has brought an increasing number of organisations to our door to see where possible alliances can be useful.
At the international level, our alliances with foreign NADOs and the WADA have become much more intensive in the context of the follow-up investigations resulting from the Armstrong case.