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SBD Global/February 14, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Australian Sport Ministers Expected To "Demand Answers" At Emergency Summit
Published February 14, 2013
NRL COACH SPEAKS OUT: The AAP reported "fuming" National Rugby League North Queensland coach Neil Henry "slammed the handling" of his club's mention as "embarrassing, disgraceful and farcical." Henry "condemned the ACC's process and was angered his club's name had effectively been forced out publicly in connection with the report before even they knew any detail of the alleged involvement" (AAP, 2/13). NEWS LTD. NETWORK's Benson & Jones reported anti-doping authority investigators "will interview 150 NRL and Australian Football League players, staff and administrators." Between 70 to 80 players and officials "could be charged with doping violations and various penalties, including the potential for lifetime bans from their code." Players who have doped themselves using substances unable to be detected by drug tests are "also being targeted," with ASADA able to take action "based on intelligence" (NEWS LTD. NETWORK, 2/14).
PHONE TAP WORRIES: In Sydney, Chip Le Grand reported the ACC "did not gather any new information about organised crime or doping in sport through telephone taps" as part of its 12-month intelligence operation. Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said that the investigation "has not provided any basis for a criminal investigation." ACC CEO John Lawler said that "no telephone intercept warrants were sought as part of Project Aperio." The absence of telephone taps "will put at ease" athletes and officials at AFL and NRL clubs who had "feared their private conversations were monitored by ACC investigators." It also removes any prospect of a "smoking syringe" conversation between footballers and drug dealers or "unscrupulous sports scientists existing within the ACC's material" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/14). Also in Sydney, Ben Packham reported Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare "has defended" the ACC's decision to publicly allege widespread doping in Australian sport in the absence of a single criminal investigation. Clare said that the ACC "would have been wrong to suppress its report on sports doping and organised crime, which cast a shadow over the nation's elite athletes and sporting codes." Clare said, "The Crime Commission made the decision, and I backed them, that it was important to tell the public what was going on here" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/13).
BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE: In Sydney, Cooper, Robinson & Hassett reported Australia's footballing codes "have dismissed concerns" raised by WADA President John Fahey they could do more to police illegal doping by confirming they already compiled the biological passports of their players. AFL Medical Commissioner Peter Harcourt confirmed the league had "long been testing the blood samples of players." Football and rugby union also confirmed that their players "had blood tests taken for biological passports," while rugby league has "reportedly agreed with ASADA to have the records of its players kept" (SMH, 2/14). Also in Sydney, Robert Grant reported AFL Essendon Chair David Evans "could be the only key member of the club's hierarchy to survive" if the Bombers are found to have breached anti-doping rules. Melbourne RMIT University professor of accounting Brendan O'Connell said everyone at the club with a ''hands-on'' involvement in the supplement controversy could be culpable (SMH, 2/14). In Sydney, Brad Walter reported NRL clubs have been told that links with sacked Essendon sports scientist Stephen Dank "were the reason they were being investigated" by the ASADA. The "controversial" biochemist was employed by Manly between '06-10, and was involved with Cronulla for five months in '11, but his links with the other four clubs "were never previously identified." Penrith, Newcastle, Canberra and North Queensland all said that they have "never had any association with Dank," but he told the ACC during two interviews last year that he had "been a consultant to the Panthers and the Cowboys" (SMH, 2/14).