Ministers to call for answers at ACC summit
"Those people need tobe identified and weeded out as soon aspossible" ... Graham Annesley, NSW Sport Minister. Photo: Ryan Osland
STATE sport ministers will demand answers when they meet federal counterpart Kate Lundy in Melbourne on Thursday.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the Australian Crime Commission will address an emergency summit, instigated by the Victorian Sports Minister, Hugh Delahunty.
Also on Thursday in Melbourne, CEOs of the major sporting codes will discuss where their sports stand in relation to the ACC report.
Coalition of Major Professional Participation Sports members - the Australian Rugby Union, Australian Rugby League Commission, Cricket Australia, Australian Football League, Football Federation of Australia, Tennis Australia and Netball Australia - will meet at the Cricket Australia offices.
The state ministers and the public have been kept in the dark since last week's announcement of the ACC's findings into doping in sport and links to organised crime.
''There's no particular agenda other than the states trying to get more information because at this point - and I'm sure the other sports ministers are the same - we've got no information over and above what's in the public domain," the NSW Minister for Sport, Graham Annesley, said.
''I don't expect anyone to break confidentiality or to break the law. It's not necessarily names or organisations that I'm looking for.
''I'm looking for the depth of evidence that may have been examined and the intelligence that has been gathered to put in some perspective, in my own mind, the seriousness of the threat we are facing.''
Annesley said he could understand the frustrations of players, clubs and codes at the lack of detail in the ACC report.
''I have no doubt that the vast majority of people involved in sport are competing within the rules and are doing the right thing,'' he said. ''I also have no doubt that in most sports, there is a minority that want to step outside the laws to get some kind of artificial advantage.
''In that case, those people need to be identified and weeded out as soon as possible so that the vast majority can have their names cleared and have suspicion removed from them.''
Speaking in 2011, Annesley told Fairfax Media match-fixing was a bigger threat to the integrity of sport than doping. The former NRL referee maintains that belief. ''To me, there's two distinct parts to this story which has been brewing for the last week or so,'' he said. ''The first part is the use of drugs in sport, which is not new. We all know this has been around for many years, and we've got structure put in place nationally and internationally to try and reduce that threat.
''If drug-taking in Australian sport is more widespread that initially thought, that's something we need to crack down on and clean up as much as possible.
''However, the second part of the story, and the more concerning part for me, is that if it is true that criminal elements are involved in distributing these drugs - and athletes are coming into contact with these criminal elements as a result - that [raises questions] over what other influence over those criminal elements may have.
''I want to know, and what I want to find out tomorrow night, is what extent the second element of that in particular, is an immediate threat to sport in Australia. And then discuss what we are going to do about it.''
NSW became the first state to legislate to make it easier to prosecute match-fixers and gambling conspirators. The Crimes Amendment (Cheating at Gambling) Act of 2012 allowed prison sentences of up to 10 years for match-fixing.
with Roy Masters