Aussie sports must cough up more for anti-doping: WADA

Fri Feb 8, 2013 4:13am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - An explosive report lifting the lid on "widespread" use of performance enhancing drugs in Australian sport showed the country's professional leagues had patently failed to build robust anti-doping regimes, WADA chief John Fahey has said.

The government report released on Thursday, the result of a year-long probe by Australia's top criminal intelligence organization, found multiple players and teams across a number of codes had taken banned substances, with coaches, doctors and support staff complicit in their use.

The report has sent shockwaves through sports-mad Australia, long proud of its image as a nation that plays fair, and prompted governing bodies of the major sports to launch their own probes into their competitions.

Fahey told Reuters the seriousness of the report had also caught him unawares but said the findings were a case of 'too-little too-late' for Australia's sports leagues, who have long claimed a hard-line on drug cheats but seldom caught them.

"I may have been naive to think that this wouldn't happen in Australia. I found out differently yesterday," Fahey, a former premier of Australia's eastern New South Wales state, said in a phone interview on Friday.

"The report tells us they're not doing enough. They weren't doing enough. Their programs weren't robust enough and that includes testing and the lack of blood testing.

"They need to put the resources, and that means money and I will watch with great interest to see how seriously they're taking all of this going forward."

The release of the report, described as the "blackest day" in Australian sporting history by a former chief of the country's national anti-doping agency, has coincided with a probe into a prominent Australian Rules football club over their systematic administration of supplements to players.   Continued...

President World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) John Fahey of Australia speaks during a workshop session at the end the Global Sports Forum in Barcelona February 27, 2009. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino