McDevitt quits as head of Australia’s anti-doping agency

McDevitt quits as head of Australia's anti-doping agency

CANBERRA, Australia — Ben McDevitt has quit as chief executive of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, warning in his outgoing statement that the country faces continuing and more sophisticated threats of doping.

McDevitt on Wednesday said he will step down in May, ending a three-year period in the job which included one of the most controversial periods in Australian sport.

McDevitt led the anti-doping organization during the long-running Essendon supplements saga which saw 34 past and present players at the Australian Football League club suspended for using banned performance-enhancing substances.

“My experience has convinced me that we face an ongoing threat of doping. It is more sophisticated, more readily available and harder to detect,” said McDevitt, who gave no reason for his decision to quit. “There are people willing to push the boundaries with experimental substances and methods which have not been clinically tested or approved for human use.”

He said Essendon’s supplements regime led by a controversial sports scientist was disgraceful and “the most devastating self-inflicted injury by a sporting club in Australian history.”

He also defended ASADA’s handling of an 18-month investigation into 12 Cronulla Sharks National Rugby League players which resulted in back-dated suspensions.

The Associated Press

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