Drugs Just The Start Of Australia's Problems As Organized Crime Infiltrates Country's Sports
Organized crime "is using performance-enhancing and illicit drugs to entrap athletes who may then be blackmailed to fix matches," according to Malcolm Conn of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. A report by the Australian Crime Commission "found a link between the illegal use of drugs and attempts to match-fix or spot-fix." Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, who is also the head of Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, confirmed that "illegal activities were sometimes intertwined." Sutherland said this was the most alarming aspect of the "shocking" report. Sutherland said, "It's fair to say that this report further highlights a propensity for organized crime to get closer to athletes with a possible implication of compromising the integrity of sporting events by fixing matches or spot fixing" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 2/8). In Sydney, Wayne Smith reported Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver, who "being put through a torrid initiation in his first week in the job," said that "what was deeply concerning" about the Australian Crime Commission briefing "was that performance-enhancing drugs appeared to be just the leading edge of the problem." Pulver said, "What organized crime is doing is penetrating professional sport by investing in legitimate businesses that are supplying to professional sport" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/8).
CRIMINAL EXPOSURE: Also in Sydney, Lisa Davies reported individuals with ''extensive criminal associations'' are involved in legitimate business partnerships with major Australian sporting codes, leaving athletes "exposed to exploitation and corruption through otherwise legitimate relationships." The report stated: "Illicit drug use by athletes leaves them particularly vulnerable to exploitation for other criminal purposes, including match fixing and fraud arising out of the provision of 'inside information.' There is also evidence to suggest that some athletes are supplying others with illicit drugs" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 2/8).