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Warning bells shouldn't be ignored: Annesley

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THE MINISTER'S VIEW

''There is reason to be concerned about some of this stuff" ... Graham Annesley.

''There is reason to be concerned about some of this stuff" ... Graham Annesley. Photo: Supplied

HAVING heard the evidence for himself, the NSW Sports Minister, Graham Annesley, says the Australian Crime Commission isn't scaremongering about drugs in sport.

Annesley and other state and territory sports ministers received a confidential briefing on Thursday from the ACC about its uncovering of widespread doping in sport.

''When you sit across the table from these guys, who spend their lives trying to fight crime at the highest level in this country, and they present you with information that they work on 24/7, I think it's a bit hard to sit on the other side of the table and say, 'That's not right - you're only scaremongering,''' Annesley told a luncheon in Sydney on Friday.

''There is reason to be concerned about some of this stuff. It is a threat to the integrity of sport in some areas.

''However, I have got to say, overall, the vast majority of our people involved in sport are playing within the rules and are doing the right thing.

''There is a small minority who are outside the rules and are dabbling in criminal elements, who need to be weeded out.''

Annesley said he remained concerned all sportspeople had been lumped together by the ACC findings.

''Even in light of the revelations I had put in front of me last night, I still have the same concern,'' he said.

''But I guess what we have to look at is: has the action that has been taken and the damage that may have caused, is that offset by the potential to perhaps bring undone some of these elements that are within our sports codes who are trying to bring sport into disrepute?''

Meanwhile, the drugs-in-sport furore is a wake-up call that more education is needed at club level, the nation's peak sports medicine body says.

Sports Medicine Australia spokesperson Mark Brown said that with supplement use at an all-time high, clubs across all codes should do more to teach players and staff about the potential effects and dangers of performance- and image-enhancing drugs.

The ACC report which sent a tremor through Australian sport when released last week focused on the growing use of PIEDs, notably peptides, some of them banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

''All clubs are looking for a sporting edge, however, player health needs to remain a top priority,'' Brown said on Friday.

''Further emphasis needs to be placed on the basic principles of knowing what is being ingested, understanding the effects and potential side effects of these supplements and seeking the right advice.''

He said athletes should still be turning to sports medicine professionals for advice.

But Brown stopped short of wholly backing a move by the peak body representing sports medicine professionals to self-regulate the industry.

Exercise and Sports Science Australia on Tuesday said it would nominate itself to act as an ''independent, consistent arbiter for sports scientists'', in its move to ''protect'' clubs and athletes from accusations of wrongdoing.

AAP

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