Organised crime, drugs, and sports

THE saying everyone loves a winner might be a popular one, but one we must reconcile against the announcement yesterday of widespread use of banned drugs in Australian professional sport and links with organised crime.

After a year-long investigation the Australian Crime Commission released the findings of a 12-month investigation probe into Australian sport and relationships between professional sporting bodies, prohibited substances and organised crime.

The nation's Justice Minister stated yesterday the findings were, "shocking and will disgust Australian sports fans".

The Minister might well be right, but sports fans also love a winner and one only has to look at how confessed drug cheat Lance Armstrong was feted and lauded by the South Australian Premier and government when he was the major draw-card for the Tour Down Under half a decade or more ago.

We do not condone the use of performance-enhancing drugs but we're also aware of how keenly a sporting team or individual will seek to gain an edge to ensure they perform well in competition.

Certainly on the eve of the major rugby league and union competitions kicking off along with the Indigenous football code the revelation of sports drug-rorts was a timely one. And we would hope the announcements made by the sporting codes will have teeth and prosecute those gaining advantage by the use of illegal methods.

It is also interesting to note the rapid growth of sports betting advertising, even with mid-game breaks giving time to a talking head to give tips on how the market odds are faring for the teams in the game.

Could not this acceptance of gambling be extra incentive for individuals and teams to try and create a situation where they or others could benefit?

Lets see how it unfolds.

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