Australian sport engulfed in drug scandal
Report reveals drugs use and criminal links rife in sport
AN EXPLOSIVE report into the use of performance enhancing drugs in Australian sport has found strong evidence of the use of banned substances among multiple athletes and sporting codes.
The 12-month investigation, conducted by the Australian Crime Commission and detailed at a media conference on Thursday morning, also found links between organised crime and sport, and evidence of the use of drugs not yet approved for human use.
The release of the report comes two days after Essendon handed itself in for investigation by the AFL and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) over concerns about its player conditioning program in 2012.
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou, appearing at the media conference, insisted the Essendon investigation had not been instigated as a result of the ACC report.
The report said the use of potentially illegal peptides and hormones were particularly prevalent in one particular sport, and ACC boss John Lawler said the head of that sport had been confidentially briefed.
There was enough evidence of peptide use at one sporting club to turn the matter over to ASADA for investigation.
The report did not identify which club or sport was concerned, and nor did any representatives at the media conference.
"The level of suspected use of peptides varies between some sporting codes, however officials from a club have been identified as administering, via injections and intravenous drips, a variety of substances, possibly including peptides," the report said.
"Moreover, the substances were administered at levels which were possibly in breach of WADA anti-doping rules."
Minister for Home Affairs, Jason Clare, urged athletes involved to come forward.
"It's cheating, but it's worse than that," he said.
"It's cheating with help from criminals.
"Don't underestimate how much we know."
Minister for Sport, Senator Kate Lundy, outlined the actions that would be taken as a result of the report's findings.
- All sports to establish an integrity unit to police doping, gambling and match-fixing (the AFL hired an integrity manager in 2008, the first role of its kind in Australia).
- Possibility of reduced sanctions for athletes who own up to wrongdoing.
- Zero tolerance for support staff found to be helping to administer banned substances, including an agreement that such people would not be employed in any other sport.
- A doubling of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's resources.
- A bill before the Senate to strengthen ASADA's investigative powers.
Senator Lundy had a blunt message for drug cheats.
"If you want to dope and cheat, we will catch you," she said