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AFL PLAYERS may have had their phones tapped as part of the Australian Crime Commission's investigation into possible use of banned drugs and links with organised crime in sport.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare confirmed the commission had handed names of individuals and other relevant evidence to State and Federal police and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency.
"They've used all of the powers that they have available to them to investigate this," Mr Clare told ABC TV on Sunday morning.
"We're not just talking about evidence that's been collected through coercive hearings - we're talking about documentary evidence that the Crime Commission has got, as well as the use of phone taps that corroborate all of the information," he said.
Mr Clare also revealed some athletes had come forward of their own accord in the wake of Thursday's damning revelations
"The early information is that that's already happening," he said.
Criminal charges are a real possibility – and could be imminent – but there is no time frame for prosecution.
Mr Clare said there was a limit to charges that could be laid to those supplying banned substances to footballers.
"It's illegal to import these drugs and so charges can be laid on that front, but there's a gap in the law – it's not illegal at the moment in Australia to supply some of these drugs to professional athletes."
He said a meeting of federal and state attorneys' general in April would discuss closing that loophole.
The AFL wouldn't confirm whether it was aware of its players having their phones tapped.
"I can't comment on anything related to that," AFL deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan told reporters on Sunday afternoon.
McLachlan said the wider issue would not be resolved quickly.
"That will take as long as it takes; it's more likely months rather than weeks."