Giving Cheats a Sporting Chance?

I wrote this weblog for Global Voices thinking it would be a sports story. It’s fast becoming a political one. We have quickly moved to the shoot the messenger stage:

Australian Sport: Drugs, Match Fixing Linked to Organised Crime

If Australia has a national religion, it is sport in all its forms. The shared obsession is being sorely tested at present. Allegations of illegal drug taking and match-fixing, linked to organised crime, have brought an avalanche of moral outrage and a cascade of clichés online. Will saints become sinners?


It didn’t take long for the conspiracy theorists to decide that the government had released the report to deflect publicity from itself. I favour the alternative: Pope Benedict has fallen on his sword to save Aussie sport.

Time to read/reread the report. Wonder how many of the commentariat have done that?

56 comments on “Giving Cheats a Sporting Chance?

  1. Channel 10′ The Project pushed the meme it was purely a government face saving exercise in an apparent terrible week for them. Though the minister answered sensibly and calmly they kept haranguing about it being a political exercise, apparently one that had the leaders of every major sports code in on it. There were two of those who fronted with the government who have openly been conservative for a while so where that idiot Steve Price on the panel comes up with a conspiracy that has these people siding with the government to politically help the government I don’t know.

    Then they kept reiterating “terrible week for the government” in the usual say it often enough then it makes it fact. Not one mention of the shocker Abbott and the opposition had, so much so Abbott became invisible.

  2. My God Julia what have u done. Michelle Grattan moves on, the Country is in a drugs crisis, the Pope resigns. Joe Hockey loses weight, but one good thing The Guardian is COMING. I’m only saying this because the MSM is going to blame Julia for everything anyway.

  3. Yes of course, I don’t know why you can’t see it, ME. Obviously the government has been saving up this report since 2010 in a remarkable conspiracy with the leaders of every sports code,for that one week when the government has had unfavourable press.

    I don’t understand how you’ve missed this obvious connection. 😉

  4. And did you notice that the Pope’s resignation coincided with Brandis appearing on QandA? It was all conspired to deflect questions about Ashbygate. Twitter users turned their attention to Rome instead of Canberra. 😉

  5. Jane the minister, Lundy?, said exactly that. This has been investigated for two years independent of the government so how did Price come to the conclusion it was cooked up in one day because of a “terrible week” the government was having.

    Price kept on insisting it was cooked up and all the heads of those major sporting bodies were somehow, the how not specified by Price, coerced onto the stage with the government for the announcement.

    No matter the sheer ludicrousness of this and the smallest neuron spark would reveal how stupid the accusation is, Price kept on about it. But then I realised what this line of stupidity was really about, and that was to get the line “terrible week the government is having” out as many times as possible.

    It was a face saving exercise for Abbott to get attention off him. Actually one tweet they put up more or less said that. “What about the shocker Abbott and opposition had”.

  6. Kev. I read the report. to me it looked like a very Undergraduate/Google effort.
    I think the ACC will likely get flack from this report.

  7. I think the ACC will likely get flack from this report.

    No shit. Considering the msm are heavily involved in the promoting of sport, this will not be popular with them. It hurts their bottom line.

    To accuse the Government of this is just appalling but reflective of our current msm. Instead of asking the pertinent questions about what has already been uncovered to have occurred (ie, they aint making this up!) they want to smear shit on the Government.


    Ask them a question. How should this have been released? Drip fed?

  8. Piers Akerman certainly thinks it’s a conspiracy:

    While real characters appeared in the Obeid Family and Julia’s Disintegrating Party, stars of the new sports-based show have yet to be revealed.

    Writers for the Dopiest Sports must name some key players if the series is to build on initial ratings.

    Few viewers could resist a show which began with the boast of “the blackest day in Aussie sport”, but without some substance to support the claims, interest could fall rapidly.

    Scriptwriters include the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The focus is on the AFL and NRL but main cast members remain shadowy.

    As compelling as these programs are, there is the suggestion that the sports show has been rushed to air as a spoiler to woo viewers from the very successful Canberra saga.

    Then it mustn’t be true, if he thinks it is.

  9. Tweed

    The thinnest parts of the report concern organised crime links, and match-fixing. The hot bits are in the full report no doubt. The ACC works in secrecy it seems. It will be interesting to see if any prosecutions result or is it just meant to be a “wake-up call” that will prompt others to act.

  10. Tom. The report just doesn’t seem to have substance. That is why I used the term Undergraduate/Google type report.
    It’s delivery is strange. Is ACC saying it is illegal to use these drugs or you only get rubbed out of your sport if you use them and as an individual they are not illegal?.
    I would have thought it should all have started with charges laid (whatever law was broken which also remains unclear) against the persons that they had enough evidence about. It seems to have started and finished with the interception of two purchases of the drug online and has not moved past that point. The res was cut and paste Google? I don’t now. It all just seems strange.
    Having the two Labor MPs was simply opportunistic. Good one McTernan. Both of them looked stupid.

  11. Tom. The report just doesn’t seem to have substance

    Perhaps you need to read the papers too?

    THE six NRL clubs at the centre of doping allegations have been revealed, but clubs are set to remain in the dark over specific details, including player names.

    I would assume the charges will come after and depending on the level of support the clubs give the investigators.

  12. I would assume the charges will come ( if they are coming at all) after and depending on the level of support the clubs give the investigators.

    Just thought I’d fix that last bit 😉

  13. …We are a niche, complementary agency that delivers specialist capabilities and intelligence to other agencies in the law enforcement community and broader government.

    Thanks Kevin, a bit of background the msm don’t really look into. They’re too busy trying to protect their money stream.

  14. Tom. Looks like my suspicions were correct. The ACC report, the press conference by Jason Clare and Kate Lund,watched on by bewildered CEOs of our major sporting codes, seems to be unravelling.
    Surely Gillard could not be so stupid as to trash our sportsmen and women simply for a short term Spin relief from her troubles?
    Surely……… not even Gillard……….
    There are a lot of Australians who love their footy …. and vote.

  15. “Surely Gillard could not be so stupid as to trash our sportsmen and women simply for a short term Spin relief from her troubles?”

    She just did. No spin can counter the holes gillard has dug for herself, krudd and counting for mine!

  16. seems to be unravelling.

    Tweed, I don’t know what planet you are on, but this has a long way too go. Unless of course you have evidence of this ‘unraveling’?

    I find it amazing that you are prepared to let cheats in sport go through to the keeper in a pathetic attempt to try and foster some cheap political mileage. To accuse the Labor party of abusing the legal system for political gain is just pathetic, and pretty desperate,

    Particularly when there is only one political party to have been proven to have sunk that low.

  17. And the opposition ave a long history of using these kinds of matters for political interests, against the national interest

    Allegations of corruption among Customs officers at Sydney Airport reflect a failure of oversight from the federal government, the opposition says.

    Problem is, this ‘oversight’ IS APPARENTLY ‘entrenched ‘, which cannot occur in just a few years. It must have been going most of the way through Howards terms as well.

    Australian Customs is in damage control after the arrest of two of its officials as part of what’s believed to be entrenched corruption in the Government agency


    Allan Kessing is a former Customs officer and whistleblower.

    He was convicted in 2007 of leaking reports about security flaws and criminality at the Sydney airport.

    Labor cleaning up the liberals mess …… again.

  18. Tom, and yet the Libs scoffed at the idea that the major problem with border protection was our airports. They would instead put the vast majority of our resources into turning back a few asylum seekers who arrive by boat.

  19. Yes Min, those cunning crooks, risking death to infiltrate our shores, when they could just fly here.

    It also interesting to hear the opposition rabbiting on about the customs problem being due to too few, yet they are promising to slash services themselves. Why do the journos not point this out to them?

  20. What a load of drivle tweed

    an entire column that comes down to ‘I’m not saying …. but’

    “Why am I here and where is the evidence I can take back to my board to explain the enormous damage you have just done to our sport?”

    I don’t know, maybe they could look at Essendon and the 6 thugby clubs (provided for you in the links above, which the writer of this column obviously hasn’t read either), none who are denying their wrongdoing, but thrashing around trying to blame everyone but themselves.

    Both the NSW and Victorian police forces have been quoted in recent days as having suspended any further inquiries related to the ACC report.

    I suggest he also read the report, and Kevin Rennie’s link above. It explains why the police might not be interested, but why the codes themselves will be.

  21. Did you read any of the links I pointed to, and do you understand that, while perhaps not illegal, what appears to have taken place is well outside the rules set up by the various leagues?

    You are right though, it is on the nose, and I am glad that a light is being shone in where it should. But instead, political grubs want to turn it into a bash Labor fest. It really just goes to show how low the political debate from one side in particular has sunk.

    Which is amazing, as that side is the only one to date to have been exposed to have used our criminal justice system for their own grubby political purposes. And so it looks like it continues. Well done for keeping your team in the gutter.

  22. There are a lot of sports officials and commentators who are sounding like Lance Armstrong deniers did for so long. The best defence being attack. There are many who would like to blame Labor for anything.

  23. I think you are off track Kevin. It is unfolding as a Gillard Spin performance with Jason Clare and Kate Lundy providing the unscripted performance. The sports people the CEOs of the codes and the public are ropeable. This will be one of Gillard’s more spectacular blunders.
    The head of WADA or NADA or whatever dickhead organisation that has coproduced this Spin is fair dinkum a clone of Lee Rhiannon and just as dumb.
    NewsPoll this weekend. It will be a cracker. Kevin. Sorry for the bad tidings on a sunny Friday morning but your girl Gillard is headed to oblivion..

  24. It is unfolding as a Gillard Spin performance with Jason Clare and Kate Lundy providing the unscripted performance

    Only people who ignore the facts, and want to play grubby political games with our justice system

    The Australian Crime Commission declined requests to be interviewed on 7.30, but received an interrogation from Coalition Senator George Brandis in Senate Estimates this week.

    GEORGE BRANDIS (Tuesday): Mr Lawler, whose idea was it to have the press conference?


    GEORGE BRANDIS: At the time, was this not a little unusual, Mr Lawler, to hold a press conference this early in an investigation, because it’s obvious from your report which I’ve read that the investigation is ongoing?

    JOHN LAWLER: Not unusual at all and indeed in accordance with due process and in accordance with past practices of the commission.

    CONOR DUFFY: Senator Brandis suggested a press conference with the head of four sporting codes as well as the Home Affairs and Sports ministers overamplified and politicised the report.

    GEORGE BRANDIS: I do wonder why it was that it wasn’t left to the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police to make announcements of this kind at a time of their own choosing rather than to present this as a political coup for Mr Clare and Senator Lundy.

    That last bold, after he had explicitly been told in estimates that it WASN’T Mr Clare or Senator Lundy deciding anything. And, they just put it out there

    Meanwhile, the states sporting ministers have had meetings with the Federal Government., After hearing what the ACC have to say, they don’t appear to be banging the political drum, they just recognise the depth and import of the report

    Meanwhile, the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has given the country’s sports ministers a confidential briefing detailing the findings of their report into drugs and match fixing in sport.

    The ministers were addressed by staff from the ACC and the anti-doping agency ASADA, as well as representatives from the AFL and NRL.

    Victorian Sports Minister Hugh Delahunty says they were not told the names of players or clubs that are implicated, but he says it is clear they are dealing with a serious problem.

    “It’s a very small number of athletes that are doing this,” he said.

    “We need to address tat issue and get on and support those that are doing the right thing.”

    Cassidy sums it up best though.

    ut look again. Just look at what the Crime Commission has concluded after a year-long investigation – and these are not what Donald Rumsfeld would call the “known knowns” and the “known unknowns”.

    These are the commission’s formal findings:

    There are clear parallels between what has been discovered in Australia and the investigation into Lance Armstrong: “The difference is that the Australian threat is current, crosses sporting codes and is evolving.”
    There is an instance – not an allegation, an instance – of team-based doping, orchestrated by some club officials and coaching staff.
    There are individuals with extensive criminal associations in business partnerships with major Australian sporting codes.
    Numerous players in the NRL and the AFL are vulnerable to illicit drugs and to connections with organised crime.
    There is already a case of match-fixing in one code.

    Any one of those allegations in isolation would be a massive story. Yet taken together remarkably some commentators dismiss them as not meaning much at all.

    It is pathetic that clubs are blaming the people who busted them for coming out. They should be declaring their innocence, at which time we take them at their word, and then letting those cheating against them be brought to justice. Them crying foul at those people exposing hte cheating just makes them look as guilty. I would have thought that they would want the system cleaned up. It appears that they don’t.

    It reminds me of Scooby Doo

    “We would have got away with it too, if it wasn’t for you pesky kids!”

  25. Wrong Tweed

    even the LibState sports Ministers don’t agree with you.

    Drugs, organised crime, sport

    And you nailed it with so little scrolling involved Sue 😉

  26. An unfolding story indeed:

    From the ABC: ‘Some state sport and territory ministers say a meeting with the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has convinced them the role of drugs and organised crime in sport is worse than they feared.’

  27. Guys. Are you aware ACC did NO phone taps in their investigation? ACC relied on past taps from other enforcement sources. Head of Vic Police has said there is nothing new in the ACC investigation and Vic police won’t be taking any further action. I see Kate Lundy is back peddling this morning.
    Clare and Lundy have blundered in like amateurs. Another Gillard Spin gone wrong.

    The Newspoll this weekend will be a hoot.

  28. Tom R

    We do need balance in this discussion. Nevertheless I’m concerned about the increasing secrecy of quasi-legal bodies such as the ACC, and ICAC. When we were in WA their corruption body made lots of accusations and failed to deliver with convictions. Once things are aired, they can’t be taken back, the harm’s done.

  29. I agree with you Kevin. The purest investigative vehicle is a Royal Commission.
    Putting aside our political differences, ACC, WADA and ASADA seem like wanker feel good organisations.
    Truthfully Kevin the NRL and AFL supporters (read voters) are not going to be happy with the way ACC and Clare and Lundy have handled the whole issue.

  30. We do need balance in this discussion.

    Yea, like claiming it is a political fix, that’s ‘balanced’

    Once things are aired, they can’t be taken back, the harm’s done.

    Let’s not forget, Essendon broke this just a day or two before the ACC did. I know who I would be looking at for the ‘timing’ of the release.

    Truthfully Kevin the NRL and AFL supporters (read voters) are not going to be happy with the way ACC and Clare and Lundy have handled the whole issue.

    If it was reported ‘truthfully’, then the supporters should only be venting their anger at those who cheated. Unfortunately, the media are heavily indebted to sports, so ‘truthiness’ will be in short supply. How anyone can blame the Government for cheating in sports is beyond me. But, we haven’t seen the depths the opposition are prepared to go to yet.

    Unfortunately, as with Lance Armstrong, when something as big and wide ranging as this occurs, everyone gets tarnished. There is nothing you can do to stop that. Which is why those innocent ones should be supporting this to the hilt.

    Of course they will be upset with the exposure, but, that is the fault of the cheats, not those who busted them.

  31. It is a little bit funny that last season Essendon went from the top of the ladder at the start of the season to finish 11th……………
    The Bimbo Kate Lundy is on Sky now back peddling at a furious pace. (Is she using performance enhancing substances……….)

  32. What an ignoramus you are Tweed.

    As I’m a barracker of Essendon, all my life, there’s pictures of me wearing an Essendon jumper as a toddler, I have read up and followed the Essendon coaching and tactics and have an understanding of why they failed so badly and dramatically.

    You obviously haven’t a clue and as usual just shoot off mindlessly because you think it might be another kick in the pants for the government.

  33. Min. I thought Bimbo was an asexual term? Like Ken and Barbie (and Kate Lundy).
    I would tag each of them as Bimbos.
    Moby. What was the guts of the Essendon problem last year?. They really started with a bang…… and then went bang.
    I reckon Bomber Thompson is not a good role model for the younger blokes.
    I am a Hawthorn Tragic…….Say no More.
    We should write a book on how to give away a certain Premiership.
    If they had kept Buddy benched they would have won. Go figure.

  34. So Tweed you shoot your mouth off without bothering to find out what the truth behind your diatribe really is.

    Nothing new there.

    Read up on their tactics, their planned fitness peaking pre-season and the body building regime they undertook under a fitness coach. Look at what they did differently on the field as a way of a tactic to what the other teams were doing. Worked initially but was very quickly countered and they couldn’t change tact to compensate as they couldn’t change their fitness regime overnight. Then their body bulking for strength became a liability and it caused a string of injuries to key players at key times.

    Look at the pre-season match they just played and won handsomely. Different looking team, leaner and quicker. Hopefully they have learnt.

  35. So Moby. Are you saying Essendon are starting on a high this year (same as last year) and are going to end on a high or finish in the bottom quartile again?
    I think Hawks have missed the cycle. Ten years of wailing and knashing of teeth before they get to the top again. Too many solid players getting to that 30s bracket.What he hell to do with Buddy Franklin. A sporting freak but they seem to consistently win when is is out injured.
    I agree with your comment that bulking up is not necessarily the way to go. a light fast skilled indigenous player outplays a beefed up boofhead.

  36. They lost against Collingwood in the 3 rounder.

    I don’t know how Essendon will go this year, they haven’t been consistent for a while. I read up on why they went so bad last year and a mate whose a sports fitness coach told me about their tactic.

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