Australian Rules Football legend Adam Goodes in training
Aboriginal activist and Australian Rules Football legend Adam Goodes reaches to catch a ball during a team training session at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Australia, August 4, 2015. Reuters/David Gray

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) chief executive Ben McDevitt will be stepping down from his role following the termination of his three-year contract. He will leave the agency on May 5.

McDevitt fronted the anti-doping agency during the Essendon supplements saga. As many as 34 former and current players from the Australian Football League club were suspended for 12 months, subsequently missing the 2016 AFL season.

Announcing his departure from the agency, McDevitt said in a statement he had advised Federal minister for sport Greg Hunt of his decision. "My experience has convinced me that we face an ongoing threat of doping. It is more sophisticated, more readily available and harder to detect," he said. "There are people willing to push the boundaries with experimental substances and methods which have not been clinically tested or approved for human use."

As reported by the Associated Press (via the Washington Post), ASADA’s 18-month investigation into 12 Cronulla Sharks National Rugby League players was also backed by McDevitt. The incident led to back-dated suspensions.

In 2014, McDevitt had said the agency was not ready to handle such an investigation. "I can tell you something - it's not just ASADA,” he said, speaking to ABC Offsiders. “I don't think any national anti-doping organisation in the world would have been ready for something of this magnitude, of this complexity, of this enormity."

Hunt lauded McDevitt in a statement, highlighting the latter’s “invaluable” efforts in fighting doping. “Mr McDevitt brought extensive experience particularly in investigations and intelligence, which has been invaluable to ASADA’s work in combating doping in sport and to protect the clean athlete,” he said in his statement.

During his tenure as ASADA lead, “unprecedented” investigations into Australian professional sport were conducted under McDevitt’s leadership. “Mr McDevitt has also made a valuable and respected contribution to global anti-doping efforts, working closely with the anti-doping organisations of other nations and the World Anti-Doping Agency,” Hunt said. “These efforts have contributed to Australia’s reputation as a leading nation in the fight against doping and protecting the integrity of world sport.”

“I wish to sincerely thank him for his leadership and achievements in protecting Australian sport and the clean athlete,” Hunt added.