The use of banned substances in Australian professional sport is “widespread”, a 12-month investigation has revealed.
Sports scientists, coaches and support staff were involved in the provision of drugs across multiple sporting codes with whole teams believed to be doping, the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) said after a year-long investigation. It stopped short of naming individuals or teams.
The use of performance and image-enhancing drugs (PIEDs) in some sports was thought to be “significantly higher” than official statistics showed. There are also cases where players had been administered with drugs not yet approved for human use, the report said.
“The ACC has identified widespread use of peptides and hormones by professional athletes in Australia,” the report read. “Multiple players across some sporting codes and specific clubs within those codes are suspected of currently using or having previously used peptides, which could constitute an anti-doping violation.”
The commission also discovered links between criminal syndicates who actively traffic performance-enhancing drugs to sportsmen which may have led to match-fixing, the Financial Times reports.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said the findings were “shocking and will disgust Australian sports fans.”
“It’s cheating but it’s worse than that, it’s cheating with the help of criminals,” Clare said at a news conference in Canberra.
The ACC launched its investigation, codenamed Project Aperio, early last year in response to the expanding market for performance and image-enhancing drugs (PIEDs).
A classified version of the report has been transferred to the Australian Federal Police, Clare added.