Friday, February 8, 2013

Doping widespread in Australian sport, finds probe

SYDNEY, February 8, 2013 DPA

Australian sport is awash with peptides, hormones and other banned drugs with whole teams believed to be doping, an official report said on Thursday.

Some professionals were taking substances not yet approved for human use, the Australian Crime Commission said in its report delivered after a year-long investigation.

The commission also alleged that criminal elements might have infiltrated professional sports and fixed matches to manipulate betting markets.

It found dope being administered by sports scientists in cahoots with coaches, doctors and pharmacists.

Justice Minister Jason Clare said the findings were "shocking and would disgust Australian sports fans." But he did not reveal which clubs and which sports stars were fingered by the investigators because that might impede criminal charges being laid.

Sports Minister Kate Lundy said administrators should set up "integrity units" that would work with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASDA) and the police to root out doping.

"If you want to cheat we'll catch you. If you want to fix a match we'll catch you," Ms. Lundy said.

Australia's John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), said the report "tells us how wide, how deep, this problem is in a country that prides itself on fair play."

Former ASDA head Richard Ings welcomed a promise from the government of enhanced powers for agency sleuths, describing the revelations as "the blackest day in Australian sport." He said some had turned a blind eye to the use of performance-enhancing substances because "we've been seduced by the romantic nature of sport. There's been a belief with some sports and even with some officials that doping just would not take place in Australian sport and if it did it was isolated and sporadic."
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