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Ben McDevitt appointed as ASADA boss

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 9/05/2014 Samantha Lane
a © Reuters/John Feder a

Ben McDevitt, the former Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner, is taking over the cases hanging over the country's most popular football codes, the AFL and NRL, after being appointed as the new boss of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

The announcement of Aurora Andruska's replacement was made at Parliament House by the federal Minister for Health and Sport, Peter Dutton, and came after a search of roughly two months that is believed to have led recruiters to approach at least one candidate based abroad.

McDevitt was a member of the AFP for 22 years and has a criminal investigations background. He is a former commander of operations for ACT Policing, was general manager for AFP national operations and national manager counter terrorism. In 2003, he helped lead a police peacekeeping operation in the Solomon Islands and was later appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

Andruska, a career public servant who was a Centrelink boss before joining ASADA, served almost four years in the CEO's job on the national anti-doping agency  - one full term, plus an extension of 12 months - before her resignation was announced in March with the most high-profile drugs cases in Australian sport history delicately poised.

Three months after the Australian Crime Commission tabled explosive findings from its probe into sport, drugs and corruption in February 2013, Andruska's contract with government-funded ASADA was extended for a further year. She departs, however, with matters that have potentially profound ramifications for AFL and NRL footballers - and by extension their clubs and codes - unresolved.

When Andruska's resignation was announced, former World Anti-Doping Agency boss John Fahey told Fairfax Media she had been "gutsy" in the job and "stood up to some of the bully boys in the system" during the damaging events of the past year. Fahey would not say who he believed the "bully boys" were, but praised Andruska's integrity. "Her prime objective, her only objective, was to achieve clean sport," he said.

In May 2003, Ben was selected to plan and deploy a police-led peacekeeping operation to restore law and order to the Solomon Islands, which was facing civil war. Ben subsequently served in the Solomons as Commander of the multinational participating police force and as Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. Ben was later awarded the Cross of Solomon Islands for distinguished service.

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