Doping in sport: The head of a global anti-drugs organisation warned sport’s governing bodies to wake up after a damning report revealed widespread drug-taking and match-fixing in Australia today.
World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey reacted strongly to the findings of a 12-month Australian Crime Commission (ACC) investigation.
Its inquiries uncovered an increasing use of performance-enhancing drugs across multiple codes and highlighted links with organised crime.
There were also comparisons drawn with the case of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who recently admitted to using banned substances.
“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.
“There are clear parallels between what has been discovered in Australia and the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong, which underlines the transnational threat posed by doping to professional sport, both from a ‘fair play’ perspective and as a broader integrity issue.”
The report also suggested that the integrity of Australian sport was threatened by the PIEDs (performance and image enhancing drugs) market and related criminal activities, and added: “Widespread use of these substances has been identified, or is suspected by the ACC, in a number of professional sporting codes in Australia.”
Fahey, himself an Australian, suggested that if cheating on this scale could happen in a country where sport is so ingrained in the psyche then it should set alarm bells ringing elsewhere.
“It tells us how wide, how deep this problem is,” he said.
“In a country that prides itself in fair play, if we’ve got a problem of the nature we’ve heard of, what does it mean for the rest of the world?”
Legal constraints prevented the identification of any particular sport, teams or athletes, but Minister for Justice Jason Clare emphasised that no code was immune and said: “The findings are shocking and will disgust
Australian sports fans.”
Closer to home, anti-doping supremo Andy Parkinson warned that Britain is “vulnerable to exactly the kind of threats” highlighted in the astonishing report.
Parkinson, the chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, said: “In the UK, we work closely with law enforcement agencies to try to tackle the problem of doping at its source.
“To do this effectively, we rely on information provided by those within sport.”
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