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Volume 10 No. 22

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australian World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey "has called on the Australian government to come clean" and explain why "it had to cast suspicion over every Australian athlete through the Australian Crime Commission's investigation into drugs and corruption in sport," according to Paul Crawley of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. Speaking from London before Tuesday's WADA conference, Fahey said, "We've seen some bones, now give us some meat." Fahey argued that "the government needed to provide more answers." Fahey said, "I do not understand what their strategy was and I do think it needs to be explained by the government, by the ministers. I am puzzled why they chose to announce it in the manner they did, knowing it will be some months before the individuals are dealt with after ASADA and the state police forces conclude their work. It may be legitimate but at this point of time we are all guessing what the strategy is" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 2/12). In Melbourne, Murnane & Diamond reported North Melbourne vice-captain and players' association board member Drew Petrie said that the Australian Football League "made the right decision to go public with specific doping allegations, even though it could not release all the details." Petrie said, "I think releasing the information that has come to light just recently -- that it is just the one club and one other player -- is probably the right thing to do. Because it means it is not as widespread as everybody had sensationalized" (THE AGE, 2/12).

AFL KEEPING QUIET: Also in Melbourne, Diamond reported AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou said that "he cannot contact the club whose player is under suspicion of using performance-enhancing drugs, let alone name that player, despite being given permission to do so." Demetriou said that he "is aware of the unidentified club at the centre of the storm, but does not know the player's identity and is seeking clarification on the legal ramifications of informing the club it has a player who is involved." ACC CEO John Lawler said in a statement: "The Australian Crime Commission cannot name clubs and individuals, as they are protected under Section 60 of the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 which protects the rights of persons against reputational damage and the right to a fair trial" (THE AGE, 2/12). Also in Melbourne, Jon Ralph reported Demetriou "called on fans to keep believing in the AFL despite the controversies over illicit and performance-enhancing drugs." Demetriou said, "I want to stress to all our supporters, whether it is the NAB Cup or premiership season, to come along and watch football, to have faith in the game. This is not a widespread problem relating to performance-enhancing problems in the game" (HERALD SUN, 2/12). Also in Melbourne, Mark Robinson wrote the AFL has revealed "serious concerns" about players associating with outlaw biker gangs. Demetriou said Monday night that all clubs "had been warned of growing links" between footballers and organised crime groups, namely bikers, who dealt in illicit and performance-enhancing drugs. Demetriou said, "It is a serious concern and should be of serious concern for all those people involved in sport" (HERALD SUN, 2/12).

In Sydney, McKenzie, Baker & Wilson reported former Hawthorn and All Australian player Trent Croad "was involved in a peptide supply deal" linked to an outlaw bike gang. Sources said that the former Hawthorn premiership player "had confided to friends that late last year he had met figures associated with the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang." The meeting "was at the Olsen Hotel in Melbourne and was in connection to a deal involving the sale by Croad of a large amount of peptides to be sourced from Sydney." AFL sources also said that Croad "had approached at least two football clubs with offers to supply them with supplements." Business documents show that in September, Croad "started a company called Pharma Ventures" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 2/12).

FOOTBALL CODES BRIEFED: Also in Sydney, Roy Masters reported Australia's four football codes "were briefed on the explosive nature" of the ACC's findings of widespread drug use in sport "well before a news conference in Canberra made it public, raising questions whether the AFL alerted clubs, such as Essendon," while the National Rugby League did not. The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, the peak body of which the AFL and NRL are members, "summoned sports to a meeting in Melbourne to brief them before the Canberra news conference." Asked whether the AFL tipped off Essendon, AFL Deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan "issued a strong denial." He said, ''No, we did not" (SMH, 2/12).

DANK FIRES BACK: In Melbourne, White & Robinson reported former Essendon sports scientist Stephen Dank claims that team coaches "took drugs that were banned for players." Dank said that coaches -- whom he did not name -- "took substances not approved" by WADA. Dank said, "A couple of coaches were using supplements that were a little bit outside the WADA code but, again, they were entitled to it and nothing illegal in those" (HERALD SUN, 2/12). In Sydney, Chip Le Grand reported Dank "provided club management and medical staff with a breakdown of the players' treatment schedules and held 'detailed discussions' with senior coach James Hird about the program being investigated by anti-doping authorities." He said that Hird, High Performance Manager Dean Robinson and club Doctor Bruce Reid "were all informed about the substances being administered." This contradicts the club's claims that its coaches and management "first learned details of the program last week following the ACC probe." Dank said, "There was a very significant involvement from Dean as the high performance manager. There was detailed discussion with James Hird. There was detailed discussion with the club doctor" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/12). In Sydney, Greg Denham reported despite the "explosive allegations" by Dank, Demetriou remains adamant that the league "does not have a widespread problem with performance-enhancing drugs" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/12).

NRL CLUBS NAMED: In Sydney, Brent Read reported NRL clubs Penrith, Canberra and North Queensland Monday night confirmed that "they had been named" in the ACC report on a day when "the cloud of suspicion finally cleared over the vast majority of teams and players in the code." Penrith Panthers GM Phil Gould and his North Queensland Cowboys counterpart Peter Jourdain revealed that "their clubs had received phone calls" from the Australian Rugby League Commission "to confirm they were named." A Canberra Raiders official also revealed that Canberra "had received a call." The accused clubs "are expected to be briefed on the details of the allegations" by the ARLC on Tuesday (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/12). In Sydney, Barrett & Chammas reported clubs which said that they "had not received any contact" included South Sydney, Canterbury, St. George Illawarra, Parramatta, Sydney Roosters, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Wests Tigers and Melbourne. Cronulla and Manly, which have been linked with Dank, "did not respond" to inquiries. Newcastle, which also had NRL-appointed auditors "check club computers last Thursday after the announcement, are expected to confirm being named in the report at a press conference on Tuesday" (SMH, 2/12). Also in Sydney, Crawley, Massoud & Toohey reported Smith confirmed that the NRL "had been allowed by the ACC to contact clubs that had been referred to in the investigation." Smith said, "The information that has been passed on to the clubs is simply that they have been referred to within the report. The NRL is working with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority who will establish a more detailed briefing with the clubs regarding its investigation" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 2/12).

Gambling advertising during sporting events will be the subject of a federal Parliamentary inquiry in Australia, according to Andrew Wu of the BRISBANE TIMES. The Senate "passed a motion" by Greens Sen. Richard Di Natale "for a joint select committee on gambling reform inquiry that could have huge ramifications for several major sporting organisations." The committee, which will report to Parliament on May 16, "will examine advertising at venues and during broadcasts, sponsorship, in-game promotion and consider the effects on children." It will also "investigate spot betting, the promotion of odds and the impact on problem gambling." Several of Australia's biggest sports "have sponsorship deals with betting partners." Di Natale said, "You can't watch a sporting event with your kids without being bombarded by betting odds and gambling ads. Not only do we risk undermining the integrity of sport, we risk creating another generation of problem gamblers'' (BRISBANE TIMES, 2/8).

Top Indian tennis players have formed an association to "protect their professional interests" days after signing a temporary truce with the All India Tennis Association, according to Sudipto Ganguly of REUTERS. The Indian Tennis Players Association said in a statement that it would "function around the ATP model and act as a platform to represent the concerns of its members." Indian singles player Somdev Devvarman said in the statement, "We believe that the ITPA will provide the players a voice that will stand united in our concerns and suggestions for the improvement of the sport in the country." The AITA said that it would "wait for the association to approach the governing body for recognition and hoped it would not disrupt the ongoing discussions for a long-term understanding" (REUTERS, 2/11).

THE HINDU reported all members of the ITPA would have "equal voting rights and elect a general body responsible for ITPA’s operations." The founding members of the ITPA include Davis Cup players Jaidip Mukerjea, Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman, Rohan Bopanna, Prahlad Srinath and Mustafa Ghouse, AITA VP Karti P. Chidambaram, Enrico Piperno, Manisha Malhotra and Aditya Sachdeva. Mukerjea will act as interim president "during the ITPA’s formative period" until the general council and the general body formally meet (THE HINDU, 2/11).