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Australian sport rocked by drugs, match fixing

7 February 2013 02:17

Professional sport in Australia is set to be rocked after an investigation uncovered widespread use of performance enhancing drugs.

A federal government press conference on Thursday revealed the Australian Crime Commission has conducted a 12-month investigation into the link between drugs and professional sport entitled 'Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport'.

Minister for Justice Jason Clare has described the findings of the report as 'disgusting' and said that the distribution and use of performance enhancing drugs has been widespread and involves 'a number of athletes across a number of codes'.

Legal constraints prevent the identification of any particular code, particular teams or particular athletes, but Minister Clare emphasised that no code was immune.

The heads of the major sporting bodies were at the announcement of the report with Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou, ARU CEO Bill Pulver, NRL CEO David Smith and FFA CEO David Gallop all voicing their shock at the outcomes of the report.

"These are serious matters that require immediate action and the development of a longer term plan," a statement from COMPPS, which represents all the major sporting bodies, said.

"The integrity of sport as a whole, and our specific codes, is paramount. We have commenced taking action and will work closely with the government on a longer term plan."

As a result of the magnitude of the inquiry, the federal government has doubled ASADA's resources to tackle this issue.

Sports scientists are set to be at the centre of the ASADA investigations, while the ACC has confirmed that criminal offences have been disclosed by players during the course of their investigation.

"The ACC has identified specific high-performance staff, sports scientists and coaches within some codes who have condoned and/or orchestrated the administration of prohibited substances, and substances not yet approved for human consumption, to players," the report said.

"In some cases, peptides and other substances were administered to players without them understanding the nature of the substances, and without the knowledge of the team doctor or club medical staff."

The involvement of organised crime has also raised the spectre of match fixing with the government and all sporting codes moving to beef up integrity measures.

The release of the report comes just two days after it as revealed that the AFL club Essendon had referred its concerns over 'supplements' administered in 2012 by a former employee to its players to ASADA.

That ASADA inquiry reportedly involves the use of peptides, one of the substances revealed in the ACC report as central to the sports doping issue.

Any athlete found to have breached WADA protocols faces a minimum two-year ban from professional sport.

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