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Coates responds to ACC report

7 February 2013

I congratulate the Australian Crime Commission and the Federal Government for the stance they have taken because as far as cheating in sport goes the “gloves are now off”, we now have the powers to properly investigate doping and match fixing.

The new powers to compel athletes, coaches, doctors, sports scientists and other officials to give evidence and produce documents have been a long time coming but we can now start the process of weeding out the cheats and ensuring the integrity of our sporting codes.

I urge our member sports to get involved with the other codes. Olympic sports would be naive to think their sport is immune from the scourge of doping and illegal betting.

It was comforting to see such solidarity amongst the major professional sporting codes today. It must be a united effort, it must be a zero tolerance battle because of the scale of the problem as outlined by the Australian Crime Commission.

Because of the criminal element exposed today the penalties must be severe. The introduction of the new powers allows the flow of information from athletes who hear things in gyms and in locker-rooms. There is definitely a need for more investigative work off the field of play.

I join the major professional sports in saying to those involved in illegal activities in sport that now is the time to put your hand up and tell ASADA what you know. As of today you will get caught.

As well as the new investigative powers the laboratories continue to store samples and re-test those samples when new tests are perfected. For some cheats the knock at the door has not come yet, but it will come. Recent events in cycling have shown this to be true.

Members of the Australian Olympic Team have been banned from betting since before the Sydney 2000 Games. Anyone in our Team caught betting on Olympic events, or even providing information to family or friends, faces automatic expulsion from the Team. When it comes to illegal betting in our Team, we name, shame and put them on a plane home.

Education is key. Elite athletes are well aware of their responsibilities when it comes to anti-doping and illegal betting. Our focus needs to be on the sub-elite, the athletes on the way up, and junior sport. Much more work needs to be done here.

In regard to the use of supplements, the AOC has long warned Olympic athletes against the use of supplements because there is no guarantee as to what is contained in the bottle, pack or canister. 

John Coates AC
President, Australian Olympic Committee
& IOC Executive Board Member

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