Drug Free Sport New Zealand starts proceedings against multiple athletes

9 Dec 2017

Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) has initiated proceedings before both the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand and the New Zealand Rugby Judicial Committee after finding evidence suggesting athletes have been purchasing, possessing and/or using prohibited substances online.

Dozens of athletes from a range of sporting codes, from weekend club players and upwards have been identified as having interacted with an online steroid operation run through the website Clenbuterol NZ.

Website operator Josh Townshend was jailed earlier this year for two years for advertising, possessing and supplying prescription medicines. Two types of substances that are prohibited in sport have been identified - anabolic agents and hormone and metabolic modulators. 

If it is determined that the athletes have committed one or more anti-doping rule violations they could face a ban from all sport. DFSNZ chief executive Nick Paterson says following the prosecution of Mr Townshend, it became apparent that there may have been athletes using his website and services. Through DFSNZ’s close relationship and collaboration with Medsafe, DFSNZ investigators analysed the available data to find evidence. 

He says DFSNZ believes that, at a minimum, these athletes are going against the spirit of sport by contemplating using prohibited substances. Furthermore, they are taking on potentially significant health risks as purchasing any type of steroids online is extremely concerning.

“It’s been previously stated that few, if any, of the prohibited substances available for purchase on the Clenbuterol NZ website were of pharmaceutical grade. Who knows what people were consuming or injecting themselves with,” Mr Paterson stated.

“To have identified approximately 100 athletes using a website selling these substances is extremely disappointing to us at DFSNZ, and should also be of great concern to the wider sporting community.”

Mr Paterson says historically anti-doping agencies have relied predominately on drug tests to catch dopers, but that is no longer the case.

“We have now invested in our intelligence and investigation capability and, coupled with the advances in science, drug cheats are going to find it harder and harder to go under the radar.”

He says the proceedings stemming from this investigation have started and will be heard individually.