Establishment of structural I&I capacity
Pursuant to Article 15.2 of the Dutch National Doping Regulations, the Doping Authority investigates possible doping violations both in the Netherlands and other countries. Intelligence & Investigation is one resource deployed for this purpose and this discipline has been organised as a separate activity since 2013.
Intelligence means selected, combined and analysed information; it is information that has been validated, presented in an organised way, and that preferably comes from several sources.
Intelligence & Investigation also involves appraising the accuracy of rumours, accusations or in simulations about doping or abetting doping. Ascertaining the truth is essential. It is the job of the Doping Authority to clarify accusations or insinuations on the basis of objective investigations in the interests of the athlete and the sport.
The approach to detecting doping violations is constantly changing. New test methods are being developed and the repeat analysis of samples is producing striking results. In combination with recent admissions by athletes and former athletes, this demonstrates that some doping violations have remained undetected for many years. The Sorgdrager Commission concluded (among other things) that it needs to be more likely that doping offenders will be caught. This requires a different approach, and more controls. However, the number of doping controls has been under pressure for some years now. A smarter approach to detection and the use of controls where they will be most effective will make it more likely that offenders will be caught.
In August 2013, the Doping Authority appointed an Intelligence Officer to develop and implement the discipline of Intelligence & Investigation. The work of the Intelligence Officer includes collating information in the context of investigations of doping violations, drafting reports, conducting interviews and taking statements, organising and processing confidential data in an automated system, and the development of procedures and protocols.
The Intelligence Officer will collect, process and analyse information about possible doping violations and, where appropriate, be involved in disciplinary procedures relating to those violations. Information will be obtained from digital sources, but also from discussions in person with athletes, support staff, or other persons who may be expected to have relevant information. The analysis of the Intelligence Officer may lead the Control Department to initiate target controls. The file compiled by the Intelligence Officer can be added to the file relating to a positive control or may result directly in the initiation of proceedings if there is possibly a question of criminal activities.
Development of international collaboration
In view of the nature of this new discipline, it is vital for data to be exchanged in close collaboration with national and international sports federations, Dutch investigation agencies, foreign anti-doping organisations and WADA. As one of the joint initiators, the Doping Authority has been involved in the establishment of a group of Intelligence Officers from anti-doping organisations who, with WADA as the agency providing coordination, exchange knowledge and information and act as the motor for developments, standards, protocols and procedures in this area.
A great deal of time has been invested in the investigation of doping used in cycling. There have been interviews both in the Netherlands and other countries with cyclists, support staff and other persons involved in the world of cycling (and particularly professional cycling). In view of the circumstances that (i) the investigation was conducted together with agencies that included, in any case, UCI, WADA and USADA, and (ii) cyclists and other persons involved are not always Dutch nationals or have not always been associated (exclusively or otherwise) with a Dutch team, this investigation involved a large number of international factors. Ongoing coordination and collaboration with sports and anti-doping organisations from other countries was therefore essential. Many of the interviews took place outside the Netherlands, in part to safeguard the anonymity of the interviewees.
Recordings were made of virtually all interviews and transcriptions were then made and stored in a secure location. By analysing the interviews and – above all – by combining information from the various interviews, an increasingly detailed picture has been established of the doping culture that prevailed in professional cycling. The investigations will continue in 2014 and the expectation is that there will be a stronger focus on possible comparable problems in other branches of sport.