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SBD Global/May 16, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NRL And AFL Clubs Targeted By Criminals Posing As Sponsors According To ACC Report

The Australian Crime Commission report claims that "criminals are trying to establish relationships with senior club officials as a means to corrupting sports and athletes," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. There are also concerns crooked sponsors are corrupting cash-strapped clubs, and that: "In essence, sport clubs/codes would never question the source of the money." While there have been suggestions criminals had gained access to athletes, "it's the first suggestion club administrators have also been targeted." The ACC report into doping and the integrity of sport "has been released under freedom of information laws to The Australian newspaper." The report specifically states that the National Rugby League and Australian Football League were areas of concern in relation to "infiltration through legitimate businesses, contractors and consultants." Sponsorships were another area of concern, "amid fears little scrutiny was given to the involvement of backers before clubs accepted their cash." The report said, "This was due to the high level of competition for sponsorship dollars between and within the codes, and the fact that many clubs are under significant financial pressure, and conduct little or no due diligence on potential investors and business partners" (SMH, 5/16).

NEEDING EVIDENCE: In Sydney, Roy Masters wrote federal government lawyers are trying to gain "immediate permission to use evidence" collected by the ACC. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the ACC have a mountain of information, "including testimony by guilty parties and emails and text messages, but some of the ACC material cannot be used as evidence against the NRL and AFL players because it was gained by coercion." Government lawyers "are working late to devise ways the material can be supplied to ASADA in order to build a stronger case against players and coaches" (SMH, 5/16). In Melbourne, Caroline Wilson wrote AFL players "will be drug tested more than ever before as part of a raft of reforms to the competition's illicit drugs policy, to be outlined at Thursday's conference of the 18 clubs." Clubs look certain to be granted the power to target-test players, "but will have to pay for those tests" (THE AGE, 5/16).

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