He is a former Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, a former rugby league player and who will soon be the former Managing Director of the Australian anti-doping organization ASADA.
- A review of the pattern of sport integrity in Australia has led to the creation of a new merged agency called Sport Integrity Australia
- SIA will work with integrity units in sports, including the NRL, AFL and at the community level to protect organizations and sports that are vulnerable
- New SIA Director David Sharpe has worked with ASADA and held key positions with the Australian Federal Police after a career in the rugby league as a player and administrator.
David Sharpe was announced today as the first managing director of a powerful new agency called Sport Integrity Australia (SIA), which is scheduled to begin operations on July 1.
“David has very good credentials, both in law enforcement and in the world of sports integrity,” said Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck to The Ticket.
“David has done a great job with ASADA (the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority).
“Australia has a very good global reputation for sport integrity and we wanted to keep it that way.”
The SIA will merge ASADA, the national unit little known for integrity in sport, and various functions of Sport Australia – such as child protection – into a single body, the Director General having exclusive discretionary powers .
Mr. Sharpe believes that the biggest threat to sport in Australia is organized crime.
“We have seen organized crime take hold in this country and they will exploit any vulnerability,” he said.
“They will find any mechanism they can involve in making money and they will exploit it. Sport is one of them, and the betting markets in particular, exploiting vulnerable athletes and exposing them.”
The new organization will work with established sport integrity units such as those of the NRL and the AFL, as well as second and third level sport and community sport organizations that may be vulnerable.
“This will be one of the priorities, to ensure that we support sports that do not have the capabilities or the resources,” said Sharpe.
“Our role in sport will be to work with athletes to make them understand what these threats are because sport has been designed as a form of fun, health and participation.”
“You know, sport really shouldn’t have to think that” organized crime is a problem for us. “But it is.
“We need to make sure people are aware of it and have the right policies in place to be able to target organized crime and prevent it from getting into their sports.”
Sharpe’s instincts refined in serious crimes and counterterrorism roles
The creation of Sport Integrity Australia is one of the key recommendations from a government-commissioned review on sport integrity arrangements by James Wood QC, which has found a range of growing threats.
Mr. Sharpe’s experience includes many years with AFP, including as head of the serious and organized crime and counter-terrorism group.
He was a first-year footballer with the Canberra Raiders before becoming the club’s director of football operations.
Sharpe says the belly of world sport is already well exposed.
This week, the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) finalized its investigation of 298 Russian athletes involved in state-sanctioned doping while the United States Department of Justice continues to make arrests after a multi-year investigation into the corruption and money laundering in the governing body of FIFA world football.
“There have been scandals around the world, you know, state sponsored doping scandals up to corruption in the administration of sport in different codes around the world,” he said.
“Organized crime, match-fixing, etc., is an emerging threat and a very real threat.
“In Australia, we need to protect and identify these issues and Sport Integrity Australia is doing a lot to coordinate intelligence with state and territory partners and federal agencies. It is this coordinated effort and this comprehensive approach that will allow us to know the threats are and are aimed at them. “
Under his leadership, he transformed the anti-doping agency into one that has become more involved with athletes through education and wellness programs.
This is an approach he says he will take in Sport Integrity Australia.
“I see that Sport Integrity Australia has a responsibility at all levels of the sport, from fans to grassroots participation to elite sports,” he said.
“But as you have seen in recent years with ASADA, it has focused on education, well-being, mental health aspects of the business and combines them with style surveys police and intelligence operations – they are an integral part.
“I think the integrity of sport in Australia has to circle sport and athletes to protect them in order to keep the elements out and use all the other capabilities to educate athletes about threats and risks. “