Australian sports in lethal grip of illegal drugs, organised crime

Australian sport doping

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."

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