A year-long government investigation has found widespread use of banned drugs in Australian professional sport and links with organised crime.
The Australian Crime Commission released the findings of a 12-month investigation into the integrity of Australian sport and the relationship between professional sporting bodies, prohibited substances and organised crime.
>> Read the full report here (PDF).
It said the links may have resulted in match-fixing and fraudulent manipulation of betting markets.
The key findings of the investigation identified widespread use of prohibited substances including peptides, hormones and illicit drugs in professional sport.
It said that in some cases players were being administered with substances that have not yet been approved for human use.
The ACC also identified organised crime identities and groups that are involved in the distribution of PIEDS (Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs), to athletes and professional sports stars.
The ACC report noted increasing evidence of personal relationships of concern between professional athletes and organised criminal identities and groups.
“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 report concluded that some coaches, sports scientists and support staff of elite athletes have orchestrated and/or condoned the use of prohibited substances.
Some sports scientists have indicated a willingness to administer substances to elite athletes which are untested or not yet approved for human use.
The ACC said illicit drug use by professional athletes was more prevalent than had been indicated by sports drugs testing programs.
The report found that organised crime had an expanding role in providing banned substances to athletes, and this was facilitated by some coaches and support staff.
The head of the AFL Players’ Association say it’s possible organised crime has infiltrated the AFL.
“You know organised crime have infiltrated gyms and provision of various kinds of supplements and substances which aid performance,” Players’ Association boss Matt Finnis said.
The ACC has referred its findings of suspected criminal activity to the Australian Federal Police and state police forces.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and other regulatory agencies will undertake more investigations on the basis of the findings.
Clare said one possible case of match-fixing was already under investigation, though he did not identify the sport.
“The findings are shocking and will disgust Australian sports fans,” Clare said.