What a day. That's it for SportsDay Live's coverage of what has been a massive day for Australian sport. Thanks as always for joining us and we'll be back from 8.30am tomorrow with all the latest developments from the revelations that have rocked sports fans everywhere. Tomorrow's live blog will be shortened as we'll head to the SCG from 2pm for the fourth one-dayer between Australia and the West Indies. Until then grab a copy of the Herald or keep an eye on smh.com.au for all the latest updates.
GEORGINA ROBINSON: Rugby. The Australian Rugby Union said this afternoon there were no investigations underway in regards to banned substances in rugby. In its response to the report ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said more than 220 drug tests were administered last year across the Wallabies, Super Rugby and sevens rugby.
"...But there can be no room for complacency," Pulver said. "Vigilance is the key and this is about making a stand to provide further deterrents and processes to protect the integrity of sport."
Rugby. Quade Cooper has revealed he has knocked back several private sponsorship offers from supplement companies because he had been ‘‘wary’’ of their contents. After probes into the possible misuse of supplements were launched at AFL club Essendon and NRL outfit Manly, Wallabies five-eighth Cooper claimed athletes who used them did so at their own risk.
‘‘You can never be 100 per cent sure (of supplements’ contents),’’ Cooper said in Brisbane. ‘‘If you put anything like that in your mouth, it is at your own risk. You’ve got to be wary because it is your career, your life. You are going to get paid by these supplement companies but it is risk versus reward ‘For me, it is not worth taking something that could jeopardise my whole career.’’
Cooper admitted the AFL-NRL anti-doping probes were not a good look but hoped the public did not think every sportsperson was ‘‘tainted’’.
‘‘It’s hard not to (think that) if you are the public. But they are going to have their opinion no matter what we do,’’ he said. ‘‘If something is written in the paper, the public perception is usually taken from that. But there are a lot of (rugby) players who are clean. I am not too sure if there any out there who are not.’’
Baseball. A rare 148-year-old baseball card discovered at a rural Maine yard sale has been auctioned for $92,000.
Troy Thibodeau, manager and auctioneer at Saco River Auction Co. in Biddeford, said the card depicting the Brooklyn Atlantics amateur baseball club drew plenty of interest Wednesday night. It started with an opening bid of $10,000 and quickly rose to the final $92,000, which included an 18 percent premium.
PAUL SUTTOR: Sporting bodies have been negligent in protecting star athletes for many years and it seems to be getting worse. If a star player is caught doing something wrong - whether it's drugs or any kind of misbehaviour - the perception is they will get a slap on the wrists but an expendable player who does likewise will have their contract torn up.
Motor sport. Ford ace Mark Winterbottom has forecast this season’s V8 Supercar championship will be the closest yet. Under the ’Car of the Future’ program, all V8 teams will be driving into the unknown with none of the re-engineered machines likely to be near full potential at the first race. Winterbottom, whose Pepsi Max Ford Performance Racing outfit was launched on Thursday, said he expected closer and more hectic racing.
‘‘They’re definitely different to drive,’’ Winterbottom said. ‘‘The braking is a lot better which was an area our old cars struggled with a little bit. The team who gets it right is obviously going to start well but I see it as being the closest championship we’ve ever seen.’’
Rugby. The Chiefs will give their All Blacks contingent more of a run in their Super Rugby pre-season match away to Queensland on Friday night. Forwards Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane and Liam Messam have been named in the starting 15 for the fixture at Stockland Stadium on the Sunshine Coast. First five-eighth Aaron Cruden and halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow have also been included. Retallick, Cane, Cruden and Kerr-Barlow all came on late in the Chiefs’ win over the Highlanders last weekend, while Messam, the franchise’s co-skipper with Craig Clarke, was not used.
League. Manly coach Geoff Toovey has welcomed an investigation into the NRL club’s sport science department on Thursday in the wake of the doping scandal which has engulfed Australian sport. Independent auditors Deloitte, enlisted by the NRL, descended on the Sea Eagles’ Narrabeen training base on Thursday to go through the department. Toovey was confident the club had nothing to hide and said it would assist the NRL in any way possible.
‘‘It was a decision from the NRL and we’re fully participating and cooperating,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ll do whatever necessary to ensure the sport in general is as clean as possible. We believe that is a must in our sport. As far as we’re concerned we’ve never had a problem here and we follow all procedures and protocols that have been put in place by the league. That’s all I can probably say on it, because that’s all we know.’’
AFL. Port Adelaide yet to be contacted:
If the powers that be have names & clubs in this drug scandal they must name them now. Otherwise the clean skins are being tainted unfairly. — Mark Geyer (@markMGgeyer) February 7, 2013
League. Veteran NRL super-coach Wayne Bennett says he’s hoping the drugs scandal that has enveloped rugby league is limited to individuals and not whole teams. Seven-time premiership winner Bennett said he was still trying to get his head around the explosive findings of the year-long probe.
‘‘I understand there are no particular allegations against any particular (NRL) team or any particular player,’’ said Bennett. ‘‘They’ve obviously got a lot of evidence. I’m not that naive to think things don’t happen at clubs but certainly clubs I’ve been a part of have never been involved in things that are being suggested now. I hope they’re on a small scale - I think they probably are in our game. Back in the late 1980s, I didn’t think we had a drug issue but I was wrong then - there was a drug issue.
‘‘I just hope we’re not on a scale where teams have been heavily involved in it."
Australian Olympic Committee boss John Coates says all sporting bodies must present a united front in the battle against doping and match-fixing. Coates welcomed the strong stance taken by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and their accompanying increased powers to track down the cheats.
‘‘The new powers to compel athletes, coaches, doctors, sports scientists and other officials to give evidence and produce documents have been a long time coming but we can now start the process of weeding out the cheats and ensuring the integrity of our sporting codes,’’ Coates said in a statement.
‘‘I urge our member sports to get involved with the other codes. Olympic sports would be naive to think their sport is immune from the scourge of doping and illegal betting. It was comforting to see such solidarity amongst the major professional sporting codes today. It must be a united effort, it must be a zero tolerance battle because of the scale of the problem as outlined by the (ACC). Because of the criminal element exposed today, the penalties must be severe."
Football. There were no winners in the battle of Van Halen v (son of) Bob Dylan as Panama and Costa Rica played out a 2-2 draw in today’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier. Luis Henriquez and Roman Torres put Panama 2-0 up after 27 minutes but Alvaro Saborio narrowed the gap before half-time and Bryan Ruiz got the equaliser with six minutes to play in regulation time.
MICHAEL CHAMMAS: League. Holden aren't considering pulling the pin on their new $12 million deal with the NRL for the next three seasons. Director of government and corporate affairs, Matt Hobbs, said: "We’re happy with our sponsorship with the NRL. We’re working with the NRL to bed down our brand new sponsorship.”
DOMINIC BOSSI: As we watched Europol swing a sledge hammer through the integrity of world football, few of us would have thought Australia would face a similar inquest less than two days later. For a long time Australians have naively believed that our sporting landscape is seemingly immune to the corruption that has plagued many other regions. But, today we learnt that we are just as vulnerable to succumbing to illicit drugs and match fixing.
The reports of substance use and illicit drugs in sport come as little surprise as the whispers have lingered for a long time. There have been suspicions that the use of performance-enhancing substances are so rife in some sports that they trickle down to the youth ranks of many professional and amateur outfits. Though, the strong allegations of match-fixing sent a greater shockwave through the integrity of our codes.
The big question that must be asked is how have the governing bodies allowed the issue to grow so large that it has required an inquest of this scale? It is evident that many organisations have not adopted a significant preventative approach to sports corruption. Perhaps it has been the case that some codes attempted to keep their affairs in-house and have not accepted the severity of the threat criminal syndicates pose.
Rugby. All Blacks Tony Woodcock, Ma’a Nonu and Aaron Smith have been included in the Highlanders’ starting 15 for their pre-season Super Rugby match against the Crusaders in Oamaru on Friday. The inclusion of prop Woodcock and midfield back Nonu, both recruited from the Blues, and Smith are among changes from the side beaten by the Chiefs in Taupo last weekend. In the forwards, Brayden Mitchell will start at hooker and Jarrad Hoeata moves to lock alongside former All Black Brad Thorn. Joe Wheeler switches from lock to blindside flanker, while openside flanker John Hardie returns after a long injury break. In the backs, winger Kade Poki is another addition to the starting 15.
Rugby. All Blacks lock Ali Williams will make his debut as Blues captain in a Super Rugby pre-season match against the Waratahs in Whangarei on Saturday. Williams, 31, was named franchise skipper for the 2013 season in December, taking over from Test teammate Keven Mealamu, who is having an extended summer break. He says he can’t wait to get out on the pitch.
‘‘You can only really judge a captain by what happens on the field,’’ he said.
ADRIAN PROSZENKO: League. NSW Minister for Sport Graham Annesley made this chilling prediction when I interviewed him in October 2011: ''I've been quite vocal since I've been in this role about the challenge that all sports face with match-fixing and potential corruption. I think it's probably a bigger threat to sport than doping. Doping is just about the individual trying to improve their performance, match-fixing and corruption can be quite the opposite where players and teams are deliberately underperforming or manipulating an outcome.''
Cricket. Opener Aaron Finch has been named Australia A captain ahead of Tim Paine while selectors have also put a reinvigorated Shaun Marsh back into their 50-over plans. Australia’s selection panel has looked ahead to the 2015 World Cup by choosing the strongest available 12-man squad to play a five-match one-day series against the England Lions this month. As well as Victorian power-hitter Finch, the squad includes current Australian one-day team members Ben Cutting and Adam Voges. Former international batsmen Marsh and Callum Ferguson are back in the selectors plans as well as wicketkeeper Paine, bowling allrounder John Hastings and NSW quick Josh Hazlewood.
‘‘In selecting this 12-man squad ... the panel had the development of players for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup very much in mind,’’ said chief selector John Inverarity.
GEORGINA ROBINSON: Rugby. The Waratahs were training when the ACC report was handed down but winger Drew Mitchell was willing to weigh in on his experience as a professional rugby player. Mitchell, a 63-Test cap Wallaby, said he was "confident" Australian rugby was not troubled by banned substance use.
"But I guess when you start doing that the onus is on yourself. We're well educated in that sense. Ignorance is not acceptable."
Basketball. Today's revelations are no surprise to Wollongong Hawk Larry Davidson:
Anyone that's surprised athletes are taking drugs should be on drugs.— Larry Davidson (@Big_Laz) February 7, 2013
Tennis. Rafael Nadal has made a triumphant singles return after a seven-month absence, beating qualifier Federico Delbonis 6-3 6-2 in the second round of the ATP claycourt tournament in Chile. ‘‘I’m happy to play a singles match after so long,’’ Nadal said. ‘‘I need days and time to get my game back, but so far the feeling on court is great. For now the most important thing is to spend as much time as possible on court. This victory allows me to play at least two more matches, singles and doubles.’’
The 11-time grand slam champion from Spain hadn’t played singles since a shock second-round exit from Wimbledon in June, although he warmed up on Tuesday with a doubles win.
ADRIAN PROSZENKO: League. Manly general manager David Perry has issued the following statement:
SEBASTIAN HASSETT: Football. Sydney FC will mark their 200th A-League game by wearing a special one-off kit for Sunday's match against Brisbane Roar, an initiative to help raise money and awareness for their community partner, the Children's Medical Research Institute.
Brett Emerton models this weekend's special Sydney FC kit.
Basketball. The New York Knicks' five-game winning streak is over, going down 106-96 as the Washington Wizards continued their recent giant-killing run. Elsewhere the Knicks' crosstown rivals Brooklyn got home in a close one 93-90 over the Pistons at home, Cleveland were far too good for Charlotte, Miami got the chocolates against Houston and Atlanta edged out the Grizzlies in Memphis.
Nick Ralston: NSW Police say they have reviewed the Australian Crime Commission's findings and have "not received any allegations of match fixing" in this state.
The NSW Police Force said it did work with the ACC on its current investigation in relation to a "specific allegation of illicity drug use". However that investigation is currently suspended and no charges have been laid.
Fairfax Media's Dominic Bossi poses the question many are surely asking today:
First commercial after Fox Sports News story on drug use & match fixing: Sports gambling "market update."— Dominic Bossi (@DomBossi) February 7, 2013
Cricket. And Tasmania have declared as Ricky Ponting reaches an unbeaten double ton. The Tigers declared at 6-425 with Ponting on 200 and Jason Krezja at the other end on 118 not out. The pair put on 293 for the seventh wicket.
Cricket. Ricky Ponting’s brilliant Sheffield Shield form shows no sign of a let-up, with the former Australian skipper moving to 193 not out at lunch on day two of Tasmania’s clash with NSW at Bellerive. Resuming on 138 on Thursday morning, Ponting’s chanceless knock, with 27 fours and a six, continued as he and Jason Krejza (102no) put Tasmania on top at 6-402 batting first. The 38-year-old and No.8 Krejza produced a Tasmanian record 270 for the seventh wicket, bettering the 215 set by Michael Bevan and Damien Wright in 2004.
League. NRL naming rights sponsor Telstra says it may reconsider its financial support for Australian sport as a result of a report into doping and links between sporting codes and organised crime. Telstra has been the naming rights sponsor for the NRL since 2001, and renewed the deal, worth more than $100 million, for another five years in December 2012. The telco also has sponsorship deals with the AFL and Australian Olympic Committee.
Telstra chief executive David Thodey on Thursday indicated the company's sponsorships could be threatened if doping or links to crime were confirmed.
"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," he said. "Stories come and go. We'll need to look at the detail and make our decision."
DANIEL LANE: Speaking at the Bradman Foundation lunch at Bowral today, Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke said he had never been contacted by match fixers. ‘‘I’ve never been approached by aynyone anywhere in the world, maybe they know me too well. The most important thing for the current Australian team is we continue to respect this great game and the integrity of it,’’ he said. When asked if he had played in a compromised match, Clarke responded: ‘‘Not that I was aware of, no.’’
Important line in ACC report: "Project Aperio primarily considered two major sporting codes in Australia." — Paul Cully (@whiskeycully) February 7, 2013
AFL to bolster integrity unit + review anti-doping code as it seeks to combat growing dangers of banned substances afl.to/VX5ysE — AFL (@AFL) February 7, 2013
AFL. The investigation into use of supplements at Essendon was not prompted by the imminent release of a wide-ranging Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou says.
‘‘The Essendon story came about because the football club approached the AFL in recent days and asked the AFL and ASADA to conduct an investigation because they were being asked certain questions by people, including the media, and the chairman took it upon himself to ask various people around the club and then came to the AFL,’’ said Demetriou.
Demetriou said the AFL had set up its own integrity unit in 2008, believing at the time the greatest threats to the sport were gambling, performance-enhancing drugs and salary cap compliance.
This story has gone worldwide. Here's how the British Broadcasting Corporation is reporting this morning's events.
United front ... NRL CEO David Smith, flanked by counterparts from Australia's major sporting codes, addresses media at Parliament House in Canberra this morning. Photo: Getty Images
ARL Commission chief Dave Smith has revealed NRL players and clubs are under investigation following the Australian Crime Commission's report into the integrity of sport. Smith confirmed the NRL had been working with the ACC in recent days and was determined to eradicate the wrongdoers.
"We've worked with the crime commission in the last week or so and information has come forward for NRL specifically that affects more than one player and more than one club," said Smith at a Canberra press conference where the CEOs from all the major sporting codes were present.
‘‘This is not a black day in Australian sport, this is the blackest day in Australian sport.’’
That's the opinion of former Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority boss Richard Ings, reacting to the revelations revealed by the Australian Crime Commission today.
‘‘When ASADA was launched in 2006, one of the mandates from both sides of government was for ASADA to develop pro-active relationships with agencies of law enforcement,’’ Ings said. ‘‘And in that time ASADA has developed relationships with Customs, the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Australian Crime Commission to show leadership in developing a co-ordinated anti-doping framework. This is the fruits of that labour going back many years.’’
Dominic Bossi: Western Sydney Wanderers executive chairman and former A-League boss, Lyall Gorman, says that football has not received reports of approaches from organised crime syndicates involved in illegal substance use or match fixing. The ACC report comes less than two days after Europol's revelations of widespread match fixing in world football and Gorman says that Australia has avoided suffering the same integrity problems due to it's proactive and vigilant stance against sports corruption.
"To the best of my knowledge, we've had no approach in the game to football in Australia." Gorman said.
The FFA recently announced a partnership with Sport Radar to monitor domestic football for match fixing as well as maintaining its ASADA anti-doping program. Gorman has called for a joint approach to be adopted by all major sports governing bodies in Australia to stamp out drug use, match fixing and threats from organised crime groups.
"The fruits of this have been shown in our game. Does this mean we relax? certainly not. We need a collective approach across the country." Gorman said.
Football. A-League two-time championship coach Ange Postecoglou believes the competition could be vulnerable to match-fixing. The experienced Melbourne Victory and former Brisbane Roar coach said while he had never seen anything to raise his suspicions, that was no reason to be fooled into thinking it wouldn’t happen. ‘‘Of course it is,’’ Postecoglou said on Thursday, when asked whether the league was vulnerable. ‘‘We’re talking about money. It can corrupt the most stable of environments.’’
ADRIAN PROSZENKO: The NRL has commissioned Deloitte to audit Manly's sports science department in the wake of the Stephen Dank drugs scandal. Dank was a sports science guru for several NRL clubs before switching to the AFL. It's understood the Deloitte investigation could include an audit of other rugby league clubs he consulted to. However the focus will undoubtedly be the Sea Eagles, where he was employed from 2006 to 2010. The club tasted premiership success during his tenure. League officials have previously used Deloitte's services, namely during the salary cap scandal which engulfed the Melbourne Storm.
ANDREW WU: The Australian Crime Commission’s report has clearly given sports a mandate to step up the monitoring of corrupt behaviour, but will this be the catalyst for organisations to turn their back on lucrative sponsorship deals from the gambling sector? I wouldn’t bet on it. The modern sports fan is now not only bombarded by advertisements during breaks enticing them to place a bet but, in some instances, also during play. It’s safe to say there are more rank and file cricket fans now aware of bet365.com, which has a ‘‘gold partnership’’ agreement with Cricket Australia and their own segment during Channel Nine’s coverage, than they were a few months ago. Cricket, though, is not the only sport with such an arrangement. For example, the AFL on their website last year ran on its live match coverage updated odds from betting exchange company Betfair under the scores. It’d take a bold sporting body to tear up a betting contract, particularly in these financially difficult times, but it’s also hard to take seriously any organisation’s commitment to integrity while also taking the gambling dollar.
Cycling. A Dallas promotions company says it will sue Lance Armstrong to recover more than $12 million it paid him in bonuses for winning the Tour de France seven times. SCA Promotions tried to withhold the bonuses in 2005 amid doping allegations against the cyclist. The company wants its money back, plus fees and interest, now that Armstrong has admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs and has been stripped of those victories. Armstrong testified under oath in 2005 that he didn’t use steroids, other drugs or blood doping methods to win.
League. This just in from Adrian Proszenko.
Breaking news: The ARLC have commissioned Deloitte to audit Manly's sports science unit #NRL— Adrian Proszenko (@proshenks) February 7, 2013
Dominic Bossi: Fairfax Media understands that the Football Federation of Australia has not received an indication that any of the national football competitions have come under the microscope for potential widespread drug use, links to organised crime or match fixing.
A spokesman for the FFA said they will assist the ACC and ASADA with any investigation. Though, no A-League, W-League or National Youth League clubs or players were specifically referred to in the Australian Crime Commission report.
FFA chief executive David Gallop said that the governing body will continue to maintain vigilant approach to monitoring any threats to the games integrity.
"It doesn't mean that we don't join in the general concern about the issues that are raised int he report. We must maintain vigilance in education in making sure that players are aware of penalties that can be imposed in surveillance," Gallop said. "It's simple to make the point but it's a good one, where things are difficult to detect, the level of deterrence must be high."
NRL CEO David Smith: ‘‘We’ve worked with the crime commission in the last week or so and information has come forward for NRL specifically that affects more than one player and more than one club. We’ve been working with the crime commission on a range of issues that are outlined in the report. We have already begun with ASADA, we’ve begun the investigation.’’
Rupert Guinness: I've said for a long time that doping is not just cycling's problem. It is sport's problem and the corruption that goes with it. And it is a problem that exists in Australia as much as anywhere in the world.
Many questions are still to be answered, but for now - until more specificity on the who dunnits, whens, hows and whys are released - Australian sport (and not just cycling for a change) will have to bear the brunt of scrutiny.
Cycling has had to carry this load pretty much on it own in recently - and cycling's problems are not over. But if the findings of the ACC report are acted upon properly and the sports implicated and those who are guilty are made accountable - today's pain for Autralian sport can be tomorrow's gain. But it won't be quick.
League. Steve Mascord leaves aside the legality of supplement use in elite sport and asks the simple question, do administrators and club officials have a long-term duty of care to their players?
Glenn Jackson: There have long been whispers. Many times, it has been wondered just what has been going on behind closed doors. Only the most naive would ever believe that their sport is truly clean, but perhaps only the most cynical would have predicted the scale of the year-long investigation into drugs and organised crime, and the findings.
It may take another 12 months, even longer, for those who are guilty to be rooted out of the system, and that will be a frustration for many. The language used by those in attendance at the press conference was strong, their message disturbing and the 47-page document available to the public detailed - but only to a point.
What is clear is that sport's integrity in Australia has taken a massive hit today. The major codes have been tarnished by not only allegations of drug-use but match fixing and links to organised crime.
The whispers will continue until the authorities weed out those responsible
Cycling. The head of USADA, Travis T. Tygart, has granted Lance Armstrong a two-week extension to cooperate with his inquiry, stating that the disgraced cyclist now wants to be part of the solution to doping.
Paul Zalunardo: Why take the risk of robbing a bank when all you need to do is arrange for a sportsman to do something at a certain time of a match and then bet on it? Sadly for the world of sport, criminal elements all over the world are increasingly adopting this mentality. The murky world of organised crime infiltrating sport has arrived and so has the time to act.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is dismayed by the findings of a report into doping in sport and links between sporting codes and organised crime. The year-long government investigation has uncovered widespread use of banned drugs in Australian professional sport.
It also notes increasing evidence of personal ‘‘relationships of concern’’ between professional athletes and organised criminal identities and groups. ‘‘Obviously, I’m dismayed at the revelations today,’’ Abbott told reporters in Queanbeyan on Thursday. Abbott said the coalition would work with the government to deal with the problems. ‘‘We want sport to be clean and fair,’’ he said.
James Polson: It was clear this morning that this was going to be a big deal. That seems like the understatement to end all understatements now.
There was a time when, bar a few bad eggs, the common thinking was that this doesn’t happen in Australia. Those days are over. Now all that remains to be seen is just how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Phil Lutton: Suggestions of widespread use of questionable substances and supplements in Australian sport have all the hallmarks of a recent story in the US, which garnered massive attention before the Super Bowl. Ravens star Ray Lewis was among those linked to a controversial supplement company called SWATS (Sports with Alternatives to Steroids).
Among their products is a spray, a supposed derivative of deer-antlers, which contains a banned product. The company was also approached football players, in college and the NRL, without the knowledge of the team. It would take a brave punter to suggest similar independent approaches by sports companies haven't occurred on our shores.
Brad Walter: The NRL has appointed former Federal Court judge Tony Whitlam to head an integrity unit set up in the wake of Australian Crime Commission findings about the involvement of organised crime in the supply of performance enhancing drugs and match fixing.
WADA chief John Fahey on the ACC report. ‘‘This is just a shock to say the least.’’
Andrew Wu: Australian sport has long held suspicions about foreign athletes but rarely placed the same scrutiny on their own. This report will force a change in that attitude.
There will be massive implications for the AFL, which has been dogged by allegations of tanking and the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Suddenly tanking is no longer about getting an extra draft pick. The AFL cracked down on seemingly harmless bets in recent years - Sydney's Kieren Jack's $5 bet comes to mind - so they will have to throw the book at offenders if far more sinister acts are revealed.
Cricket too faces challenges, particularly with the Big Bash League. Twenty20 cricket is considered the easiest format to fix games as its shorter time span increases the significance if each ball.
Richard Hinds: What is more disturbing? That Australian athletes are suspected of taking banned substances? Or the seldom asked question - where did they get them?
Only the very naive would have assumed that, as the Australian Crime Commission report released Thursday states, the use of illegal substances was not taking place, on some level, in Australian sport.
In the sporting context, the heat is on the users. Initially, Essendon's concern about the possible administration of banned substances, was seen through this prism. Scorn that the Bombers might have cheated their opposition. Concern that players could face lengthy bans.
But the ACC report places the use of performance enhancing substances in a different context. As with the recreational drugs, it is the chain of supply that most concerns those policing the laws. In this case, that raises the possibility football clubs might be associated - however unwittingly - with organised crime. Justice Minister Jason Clare said: "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.''
Sport, and sporting authorities, feel comfortable within their own jurisdiction. They revel in a protected space where an elbow to the head that might be considered a common assault if inflicted in the street can be treated as a striking offence worthy of only a two week ban.
The ACC report suggests that some clubs, and games, have strayed beyond this comfort zone. Into places where the full weight of the law could come crashing down.
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Phil Lutton: The startling findings on drugs in sport are going to shock the Australian public but won't surprise some former athletes. Back in October, I wrote this story on former NRL and Super League player Adrian Vowles, who said in the wake of the Lance Armstrong debacle that anyone who believed Australia's football codes to be clean were deluded.
New Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver ‘Aware of issues in relation to performance enhancing drugs ... less so with match-fixing.'
New NRL boss David Smith says more than one player and more than one club mentioned in the ACC report.
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.
The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS) has agreed to several measures to assist the crackdown.
The Coalition represents all the major sporting organisations in Australia, including the AFL, NRL, FFA, ARU and Cricket Australia.
The individual bodies are to:
Establish integrity units to deal with doping, betting and ethical issues.
Cooperate with ASADA and law enforcement agencies in a joint-investigation.
Call on their athletes to come forward and own up to wrongdoing and cooperate with investigators to possibly reduce sanctions.
Enact a multi-code policy to share information and implement doping sanctions across codes.
Have zero tolerance for any support staff involved in pedaling inappropriate substances and help ensure they are not employed in other codes
Federal sports minister Kate Lundy said the government was moving to introduce tough new measures to crack down on the use of banned drugs and unethical behaviour in sport.
‘‘Today is about the integrity of sport in Australia,’’ Lundy said.’’... If you want to dope and cheat, we will catch you. If you want to fix a match, we will catch you. And as you can see by the investigations that have taken place, that we are well on the way to seeking out and hunting down those who will dope and cheat.’’
The NRL has today joined all major sports, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), the Australian Crime Commission, and the Federal Government in supporting a far reaching investigation into doping and integrity issues in sport.
The NRL has also appointed former Federal Court Judge, The Hon. Tony Whitlam QC to assist in the investigation process and to establish a permanent NRL Integrity Unit.
Justice Minister Jason Clare: ‘‘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,’’ said in a statement."
Sports Minister Kate Lundy said Asada to take over investigation into doping across codes.
Home Affairs Ministers Jason Clare says Australian Crime Commission report has found wide-spread use of illegal substances by Australian professional athletes and teams. Also links between organised crime and supply of illegal substances leading to fears of match-fixing.
Golf. James Hahn, a rookie on the US PGA Tour, has become a YouTube hit ahead of the Pebble Beach National Pro Am after his ‘‘Gangnam-style’’ celebration dance of a Sunday birdie.
The 31-year-old born in Seoul fired a final-round 62 to share 16th last week at Phoenix but his birdie dance at the 16th, a grandstand-surrounded hole where rowdy spectators cheer and boo the results of tee shots, stole the show. ‘‘I can’t believe that I did that,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘I was having so much fun."
Basketball. Opals star Lauren Jackson has confirmed she won’t play in the upcoming Women’s National Basketball Association season in the United States as she continues rehabilitation for a hamstring injury at home.
Following a recent post-operative review, Jackson is expected to make a full recovery. However, as a result of the injury, she’s been unable to take the court for the Canberra Capitals during the 2012/13 WNBL season.
Jackson’s American club, the Seattle Storm, have announced she will sit the 2013 season out, but remain under contract to play in 2014. ‘‘I’m so pleased with the medical view that I will make a full recovery, but I know I have to be patient and not rush the process,’’ Jackson said in a statement on Thursday.
AFL. The Melbourne Age's chief AFL reporter Caroline Wilson didn't miss with her comment on the drama at Essendon.
Imagine yourself right now as the parent of a young Essendon footballer. Not so long ago, James Hird had looked you in the eye, shook your hand and assured you that your son was joining a great football club and that he, too, would be given every chance of greatness both on and off the field.
Football. England ensured Luiz Felipe Scolari's second spell in charge of misfiring giants Brazil began with a defeat Wednesday as World Cup favourites Spain, Argentina and Germany all clinched impressive wins on the road.
League. And the Wolfman buys in to the supplement debate.
I don't understand all the hysteria, who needs calf blood when you have Wolf Blood coursing through your body?!— David Williams (@wolfmanwilliams) February 6, 2013
Sports Minister Kate Lundy about to hold press conference about organised crime in sport. David Gallop and James Sutherland in attendance for the announcement.
Sebastian Hassett: Football. Frank Farina hasn't been offered the job at Sydney FC for next season just yet - but the board isn't considering any other candidates, and expects to make an announcement in the next few weeks.
Tennis. Rafael Nadal made a triumphant singles return after a seven-month absence, beating Argentinian qualifier Federico Delbonis 6-3 6-2 in the second round of the ATP claycourt tournament in Chile on Wednesday.
The 11-time grand slam champion from Spain hadn’t played a singles match since a shock second-round exit from Wimbledon in June. A torn tendon and inflammation in his left knee had kept him out of the London Olympics and the 2012 US Open, while a virus further delayed his return to action this year.
Michael Carayannis: Boxing. Unbeaten Russian Evgeny Gradovich is the new challenger to Billy Dib’s IBF featherweight title in the US on March 1.
The heavy-handed Gradovich replaces would-be opponent Luis Franco, whose shock withdrawal sent Dib’s camp into a spin just days ago. Dib’s promoter, US rapper 50 Cent, has handed Gradovich, the No.11th ranked featherweight, a shot at Dib’s title which will headline ESPN's Friday night fight card. It will be Dib’s third title defence.
Football. England beat Brazil 2-1 on Wednesday to end a 23-year wait for victory over the five-time world champions and consign Luiz Felipe Scolari to defeat in the first game of his second spell as Brazil coach.
Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar looks back at the ball going into the net for an England goal from a shot from England's midfielder Frank Lampard during the international friendly football match between England and Brazil at Wembley. Photo: AFP
Brazil's defender Daniel Alves vies with England's striker Wayne Rooney during the international friendly football match between England and Brazil at Wembley. Photo: AFP
Football. From our friends at The Guardian, here's five talking points from the England-Brazil match.
Cricket. James Faulkner has been fined for yelling an obscenity at Chris Gayle after bowling the West Indian in the third one-day international in Canberra.
The tourists had edged into favouritism before Faulkner bowled Gayle and then did the same three balls later to Darren Bravo.
The International Cricket Council said Faulkner was fined 10 per cent of his match fee for ‘‘using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International Match’’. ‘‘The incident related to the bowler’s actions after he dismissed West Indies batsman Chris Gayle in the 38th over,’’ it said in a statement.
Our lip-reading expert Blind Freddy has gone to tape and believes Faulkner yelled 'Faulkner off!" at Gayle.
Winner ... England's Frank Lampard, third right, shoots to score past Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar during their international friendly at Wembley stadium. Photo: AP
Football. England beat Brazil 2-1 on Wednesday to end a 23-year wait for victory over the five-time world champions and consign Luiz Felipe Scolari to defeat in the first game of his second spell as Brazil coach.
On a chilly Wembley night that saw Ashley Cole win his 100th England cap, home goalkeeper Joe Hart saved an early penalty from the recalled Ronaldinho, before Wayne Rooney put Roy Hodgson’s side ahead.
An error from Gary Cahill allowed half-time substitute Fred to equalise for Brazil early in the second half, but Cahill’s Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard gave England victory with a smartly taken goal on the hour.
The friendly game was being played to mark the start of the Football Association’s 150th anniversary celebrations, and in Scolari’s disjointed Brazil, England found unexpectedly generous opponents.
Hodgson’s men will now approach March’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro in good heart, while Scolari must revisit his plans to craft a side capable of winning a sixth world title on home soil in 2014. Jack Wilshere started alongside England captain Steven Gerrard in midfield for the first time and the Arsenal man was quick to assert himself with an enterprising forward burst that drew applause from the home fans.
Formula One. Lewis Hamilton suffered a brake failure on his first day behind the wheel of his Mercedes on Wednesday, but insisted he had survived more horrifying smashes.
The 28-year-old 2008 world champion, was on his 15th lap when he careered off the Jerez track and into a tyre barrier having just moments earlier reached speeds of between 260kph and 300kph.
"I hit the brakes and in a split-second they didn't work. The pedal went down and nothing happened, so I just braced for the impact," said Hamilton.
Gravel dash ... Lewis Hamilton walks away from his Mercedes after crashing into the gravel. Photo: Getty Images
Police fear international match-fixing syndicates are grooming Australian sports stars as part of long-term plans to infiltrate local competitions.
Organised crime experts have identified A-League and Big Bash cricket as likely targets of Asian crime cartels.
Coming home? ... Luke Burgess playing in France. Photo: Getty Images
Georgina Robinson: Rugby. Former Wallabies halfback Luke Burgess wants to return to Australia and cut short his time with French club Toulouse.
It is understood Burgess, who left for France after the World Cup last year, is looking for a home with an Australian Super Rugby franchise if he can secure a release from the French club.
Football. And under the headline 'It's only a friendly', England have beaten Brazil 2-1 at Wembley. Wayne Rooney scored first for England before Fred equalised in the 48th minute. Frank Lampard scored the winner in the 60th minute.
Football. Romania have defeated the Socceroos 3-2 in their friendly in Malaga. The Socceroos came back from 1-0 down thanks to goals from Wilkshire and Cornthwaite, but two late goals to Romania saw them home.
Cricket. Australia can switch its focus to the upcoming tour of India after sealing the limited overs series with the West Indies in Canberra on Wednesday night.
Shane Watson’s century as a specialist batsman laid the platform for Australia’s 39-run victory to secure an unassailable 3-0 lead in the best of five series.
Australia with unbeatable 3-0 series lead
Australia have taken an unbeatable 3-0 series lead after beating the West Indies by 39 runs in the third ODI in Canberra.PT2M7S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2dzix 620 349 February 7, 2013
Brad Walter: Here's our lead story today by Brad Walter.
An investigation into the use of supplements by Essendon players is set to be expanded beyond AFL, with Fairfax Media told NRL clubs are also likely to face scrutiny.
Ben Coady: Welcome to SportsDay Live for Thursday. I've had my calves blood injection and been on to Mr Big to get the late mail before having a bet in the Finnish Handball League so I'm ready to go. There's plenty of international football to keep up to date with, including the Socceroos against Romania, more on the widening drugs scandal with a major announcement to be made on the topic by Sports Minister Kate Lundy in Canberra, and anything else that's moving in the world of sport.