Recent revelations that the Essendon Bombers may have been guilty of administering banned substances to their players are but the tip of the iceberg according to a 12 month investigation by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) which found that illicit drugs and connections to organised crime are rife within Australian sport.
Most of the controversy is centered around the use of peptides, which are chains of amino acids that combine to send different messages to different parts of the body. The major banned peptide is GHRP-6 which signals to the brain to release human growth hormones. Organised crime rings have been identified as chief suppliers of illicit drugs as well as being implicated in match fixing and the manipulation of betting markets.
“The ACC has found that professional sport in Australia is highly
vulnerable to infiltration by organised crime. Multiple athletes from a
number of clubs in major Australian sporting codes are suspected of
currently using or having used peptides,” Justice Minister Jason Clare
said in a statement. “The findings are shocking and will disgust Australian sports fans. It’s cheating but it’s worse than that. It’s cheating with the help of criminals.”
Clare offered a stern warning to perpetrators to come forward “before you get a knock at the door“. With World Football enduring their own match fixing dramas and Lance Armstrong outing cycling as a haven for drug users, Aussie fans were afforded the luxury of turning up or noses on account of our stellar drug history. Now we are well and truly in the middle of it. And by it, I mean the most comprehensive and shocking drug scandal in Australian sports history.
Swimming Australia’s Olympic training camp was unconventional to say the least.
The depth to which these activities have embedded themselves in certain organisations could have major repercussions with NRL naming sponsor Telstra already coming forward and confirming that they would revise their involvement in the code should illegal activities be proven rife in Rugby League. “Our brand image is very tightly tied up with those who we sponsor so if
there is untoward behaviour that we don’t agree with we make our
position very clear, so we’ll always do that,” Telstra chief executive David Thodey told reporters. Should Telstra walk away, the NRL will be without a competition name as well as the $100m the telecommunication giant is set to invest over the next 5 years.
Perhaps the scariest thing about these findings is that most of the alleged activities are occurring without the players full knowledge. Sure, it’s easy to plead ignorance but a player shouldn’t have to question what they are being administered by qualified club officials. Essendon’s sport science guru/drug villain Stephen Dank had extensive ties within the NRL. Working for the Cronulla Sharks, Dank’s issued players with a blood thing agent designed to promote anaerobic capacity until users began suffering random bruising and a spate of soft tissue injuries. “Hullo! I’m internally bleed here!“
In summery, the 45-page ACC report has found strong evidence supporting:
– widespread use of peptides, hormones, and other illicit drugs across several codes.
– cases of sicko doctors testing drugs on elite players that have not been approved for human use.
– cause for racing fans to be alarmed with reports indicating that there is widespread drugging of race horses.
– growing ties to organised crime.
– at least one very real case of match fixing that is being investigated.
Yesterday the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (ASADA) Bill 2013 was introduced to parliament. The amendment will give ASADA the power to require someone to attend an interview or produce documents. “The message is clear – with these amendments, athletes and support
persons who are involved in doping have a greater chance of being
caught. People will have no option but to assist ASADA in undertaking
its investigations and intelligence activities,” Senator Kate Lundy said. This could get ugly.