Rugby is clean: White
Brumbies coach Jake White says rugby union has a "massive clean slate" with performance enhancing drugs and no team would "even contemplate match fixing".PT0M0S 620 349
World Cup-winning coach Jake White says rugby union's unpredictability protects it from corruption and is confident the sport isn't riddled with athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.
But Canberra's elite football teams threw their support behind the government when it comes to stamping out performance-enhancing drug use and corruption after the Australian Crime Commission released its findings of a 12-month investigation into the integrity of sport and the relationship between professional sporting bodies, prohibited substances and organised crime.
The report said links may have resulted in match fixing and manipulation of betting markets.
Inside backs coach George Gregan and head coach Jake White. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
But White - the ACT Brumbies mentor - said match fixing was not a problem in rugby union.
''The one thing that's magnificent about rugby union is that it's such a difficult game to even think about match fixing,'' he said.
''In other games when the margins are nil-nil results, or a team concedes one goal … rugby is such a fluid and dynamic game that it would stick out like a sore thumb if you even try to do something that's match fixing. If you think about a prop forward kicking a goal and there's money on that, people would smell a rat from a mile away. We're fortunate in rugby, I think it's one of the most difficult sports in the world to even contemplate match fixing.''
It was a sentiment also expressed by GWS Giants coach Kevin Sheedy, but he admitted that all sports were open to corruption, calling the report's findings a "rude awakening for a lot of people".
"Our [sport] will be difficult [to fix], it's a bouncing ball game. From my point of view there's so many close games now, it's a tight contest, you've got about eight coaches in every club. Look at last year's grand final, three minutes to go and there's a kick in it," Sheedy said.
Both the AFL and the Australian Rugby Union already have an integrity unit, but Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan says the report shows the need for all clubs to remain vigilant to uphold "the integrity of sport" in Australia.
"I was certainly shocked by the report and the extent of the findings, particularly the links to organised crime," Fagan said.
"I'm very pleased that there's no specific evidence or links suggested in any way to Australian rugby. We're certainly proud of the record we have at the Brumbies and in rugby broadly in regards to anti-doping, illicit drugs and to anti-corruption, but I think what the report shows is you certainly can't afford to be complacent.''
In response to the report, the National Rugby League announced its own integrity unit.
Canberra Raiders chief executive Don Furner found the news of the ACC's findings "very disturbing".
"I'm glad to see Australian sport getting on the front foot because [doping and match fixing] needs to be stamped out," he said.
"I've got no knowledge of these issues happening at our club, but of course we will co-operate with and support any investigation because there is no place for such things in our sport.''