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Doping widespread in Australian sport: probe

Feb 7 (AFP) A year-long government investigation today concluded drug use is widespread in Australian sport with links to organised crime which may have led to match-fixing.

The Australian Crime Commission probe identified widespread use of prohibited substances including peptides, hormones and illicit drugs in professional sport.

It said it had identified criminal networks involved in the distribution of illegal substances, and the links may have resulted in match-fixing and fraudulent manipulation of betting markets.

The findings indicated that sports scientists, coaches, support staff as well as doctors and pharmacists were involved in the provision of drugs

‘The findings are shocking and will disgust Australian sports fans,’ Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said.

‘Multiple athletes from a number of clubs in major Australian sporting codes are suspected of currently using or having previously used peptides, potentially constituting anti-doping rule violations.

‘It’s cheating but its worse than that, it’s cheating with the help of criminals.’

The report said there were ‘clear parallels between what has been discovered in Australia and the USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) investigation into Lance Armstrong’, referring to the disgraced Tour de France cyclist.

This ‘underlines the transnational threat posed by doping to professional sport, both from a ‘fair play’ perspective and as a broader integrity issue’.

‘It is also clear from the findings of this project, the USADA investigation, and previous high-profile doping cases in Europe and the United States that it is not only athletes who are involved in doping, but athletic support staff, organised criminal groups and complicit doctors.’


CRICKET CLEAN, AUS CHIEFS SAY

Feb 7 (AFP) Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland today said there was nothing in a damning government report into doping that linked the sport to drugs, saying he was shocked by the findings. A year-long Australian Crime Commission probe concluded that drug use was widespread across multiple Australian sporting codes, with growing links to organised crime. Sutherland said sports bodies and the government must work together urgently on developing a national approach to integrity in sport. ‘There was no specific evidence or links suggested to Australian cricket, which has a record of proactive management on issues such as anti-doping, illicit drugs, anti-corruption and bans on cricketers and cricket employees betting on cricket. But no sport can afford anything other than constant vigilance. Sport is an important part of the Australian way of life and fans rightly have high expectations of Australian sports’ integrity,’ he said.
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