Australia Battles Doping Fallout

On Friday, doping agencies urged Australian cheats to come out clean as concerns mounted after a probe pointed to widespread drug use in professional sport.

The damning Australian Crime Commission inquiry revealed that the use of prohibited substances including peptides, hormones, and illicit drugs was common across multiple sporting codes. In the ACC report, it was disclosed that criminal groups were involved in the distribution of banned drugs, including growth hormone stimulating substances called peptides and added that players were not always aware of what they were taking.

The report also revealed that the Australian Crime Commission 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 and peptides and other substances in some cases 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 crime commission report did not name specific players, teams or codes because of legal reasons.

After the report was made public, major rugby league sponsor Telstra hinted that it would reconsider its support and remarked it would look closely into the report, which also found links to organized crime.

Andy Parkinson, the chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, has warned the United Kingdom is “vulnerable to exactly the kind of threats” highlighted in an astonishing report into widespread drug use and match-fixing in Australian sport. The UKAD Chief said there should be no complacency in the UK over the battle against such issues and added that the report reinforces a number of disturbing facts.

Meanwhile, the head of New Zealand’s Olympic team has dismissed suggestions of a doping problem in the country and said he had never heard nothing or seen anything that would even remotely suggest that there’s any sort of systematic doping program in New Zealand. Waddell added there was a potential for mistakes where sports supplements were involved and strongly advised athletes to be “almost paranoid about what goes down your throat”. New Zealand sport has an international reputation for integrity and ethics and the vast majority of New Zealand athletes compete cleanly, the New Zealand Olympic Committee said in a statement.

In a statement, Netball Australia, in conjunction with the ANZ Championship transtasman competition, said they were not immune and needed to remain vigilant in the fight against drugs, match fixing, and links to organized crime. The statement said the organization will now take steps to work with lead sporting and anti-doping bodies in New Zealand to assess the implications of the Australian report and take any additional steps for ensuring the protection of athletes and prevention of cheating and added the New Zealand Olympic Committee will also continue to coordinate its efforts with Drug Free Sport New Zealand for increasingly targeted and evidence-based anti-doping measures through the review of the World Anti-Doping Agency code currently underway.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey said he was not surprised to learn of the contents of the report of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and called for a global organization dedicated to fighting drugs and corruption in sport.

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