In addition to the implementation of the doping control process, the collection and investigation of information can also generate evidence of doping. Pursuant to Article 5 of the Wuab and Article 20 of the Dutch National Doping Regulations, Doping Authority Netherlands investigates possible anti-doping rule violations both in the Netherlands and other countries.
In addition to the analytical evidence for doping, the collection and investigation of information are the most important ways of detecting other major violations such as trafficking and supplying. This investigation instrument is still under development (both in the Netherlands and elsewhere) and work continued in 2019 on the development of the basis for this work through the ongoing development and implementation of secure information systems, the extension of the technical systems for the notification desk, a network of partners in the anti-doping world, and the associated procedures.
The current World Anti-Doping Code and the International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI) refer explicitly to Intelligence & Investigations as a means of tackling the problem of doping. To establish a clearer picture of the extent of that problem and to make sound decisions about the approach to, and investigation of, anti-doping rule violations, Doping Authority Netherlands is following the example of many investigation services by working with a more intelligence-based approach.
An Intelligence Officer was at work in the Enforcement and Investigation Department of Doping Authority Netherlands for most of the year.
The work of the Intelligence Officer consisted of collecting information in the context of investigations of anti-doping rule 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 position became vacant when the Intelligence Officer moved to a position elsewhere.
Adopting an intelligence-based approach allows Doping Authority Netherlands to fulfil its investigation role more effectively. The intelligence process consists of four phases – collection, registration, working up and analysis – which have to be implemented meticulously. Much of the relevant information is collected during doping controls. Information such as observations and findings from DCOs and other Doping Authority staff is stored in secure systems.
These data are worked up and interpreted. The information is then combined with other existing intelligence and data (scientific and otherwise). The insights generated are used by the Enforcement & Investigation department for the purposes of:
- planning doping controls in and out of competition;
- ongoing disciplinary proceedings;
- own observations and additions to existing cases that are not disciplinary procedures.
Results in 2019
Information was collected or obtained, and worked up, for various disciplinary proceedings in 2019. The information was used in the fortnightly case management consultations and, where necessary, in disciplinary proceedings.
The emphasis in the collection of information for the purposes of planning doping controls in 2019 was on, among other things:
- competitions and training schedules of athletes in Doping Authority Netherlands's Registered Testing Pool with the aim of smart and efficient testing (the correct timing of the control in preparation for an event or qualification);
- the preliminary assessment of lists of participants at competitions/events and the targeted use of controls (when Doping Authority Netherlands has information about possible doping use by a participating athlete or group of athletes);
- the storage of information obtained passively about athletes with a whereabouts obligation in order to establish a picture of incorrect and/or incomplete whereabouts information;
- collecting OSINT about athletes, support staff and potential suppliers of prohibited substances.
The relevant information collected was shared with members of staff involved in the planning of doping controls. Work continued on the development of systems and working methods in which there is a greater emphasis on individual monitoring and planning of controls for specific athletes, with specific factors identified by I&I being given greater weight.
Visitors to the website www.dopingautoriteit.nl can submit reports through a hyperlink. They can also use the link to obtain information about the procedure and the subjects for reporting. People submitting reports can complete a web form and, if they wish, report on a completely anonymous basis. Extensive technical measures are in place to ensure that anonymity is safeguarded as much as possible. In 2019, the possibilities for reporting will be further expanded using social media options such as WhatsApp.
Twenty-five reports by external parties about possible anti-doping rule violations were received by Doping Authority Netherlands in 2019. The number of reports was lower than in 2018, falling back to the level seen in 2017. The quality of the reports was much higher than in 2018.
The reports related to 11 different sports and they came from different sources: athletes/fellow-athletes, the sports association, the Dutch Centre for Safe Sports, the Doping Reporting Centre (Meldpunt Doping) and NADOs in other countries. The reports were made in person, by telephone, in writing, by WhatsApp and in emails. Thirteen reports related to suspicions of doping, three to suspicions of facilitating doping, two to suspicions of trafficking and three to conduct that did not constitute an anti-doping rule violation (such as the use of drugs out of competition without the intention to enhancing performance or 'mechanical doping'). In addition, there were 4 cases that were not covered by the above categories, such as reports about websites that sell illegal medicines or reports in response to media reports. In addition to the reports from external sources referred to here, Doping Authority Netherlands also received 6 reports from internal sources. These were reports that reached the Intelligence Officer via colleagues.
All reports were investigated by the Intelligence Officer and the results of those investigations were covered in the discussions about cases under investigation in the Enforcement & Investigations department. On the basis of those discussions, testing strategies were drawn up where relevant for each case and decisions were made about the focus of subsequent intelligence activities.
Collaboration with government services and fellow anti-doping organisations
The I&I information supplied by Doping Authority Netherlands is classified using an international system that rates the information in terms of the reliability of the information and the reliability of the source. In 2019, information was supplied to the Dutch Healthcare and Youth Inspectorate (IGJ), NVWA, and the fellow anti-doping organisations UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), NADO Flanders, NADO Germany and UCI/CADF.
By contrast to the situation with respect to the doping control process, Doping Authority Netherlands is dependent on the cooperation of organisations other than sports organisations, in particular government investigation and enforcement organisations, for the implementation of some of the statutory duties referred to in Article 5 of the Wuab. The development and expansion of good collaborative relationships with these organisations is therefore of major importance. A start was made in 2019 on the development of collaboration with chain partners such as the IGJ, the NVWA, the Police, the FIOD, the customs authorities and the Public Prosecution Service by agreements set out in collaboration protocols. In addition, Doping Authority Netherlands became a party to an existing covenant between the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the NVWA. This step has eliminated certain formal barriers. However, at the same time, it has highlighted the fact that many forms of collaboration that could help to implement this statutory duty more effectively are legally contentious and are therefore refused by the intended partners on formal grounds. Excellent collaboration and sound information exchanges have been established with customs authorities on the basis of the protocol. In addition, a start was made on exchanges of knowledge with the NVWA. In 2019, Doping Authority Netherlands has shared knowledge and information (after it has been worked up) with partners in the chain in order to contribute to the expertise in studies relating to prohibited substances (some of which have been initiated by partners in the chain) with the primary aim of establishing a picture of, and tracing, doping networks. Doping Authority Netherlands has continued to seek ever closer cooperation with investigation and enforcement bodies.
- Open Source Intelligence
- 2018: number of reports: 47
- 2018: number of sports: 12
- 2018: number: 23
- 2018: number: 4
- 2018: number: 6
- 2018: number: 1
- Doping Authority Netherlands can, without the cooperation of other organisations, only collect and process information that comes from open sources or that is reported to Doping Authority Netherlands.