Tag Archives: drugs

Australian government investigation unearths widespread use of banned drugs in professional sport

Australia rocked as investigation unearths widespread use of banned drugs, links to match fixing and organised crime in professional sport

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

02:24 GMT, 7 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:26 GMT, 7 February 2013

Professional sport in Australia is set to be rocked to its core after an Australian Crime Commission (ACC) investigation uncovered widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in Australian sport as well as links to match fixing and organised crime.

A federal government press conference revealed that the ACC has conducted a 12-month investigation into the link between drugs and professional sport entitled 'Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport'.

'There are clear parallels between what has been discovered in Australia and the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong, which underlines the transnational threat posed by doping to professional sport, both from a “fair play” perspective and as a broader integrity issue,' said the report.

Painful viewing: NRL CEO David Smith speaks to media after a 12 month investigation into Australian sport uncovered the possibility of match fixing, drugs in sport and links to organised crime

Painful viewing: NRL CEO David Smith speaks to media after a 12 month investigation into Australian sport uncovered the possibility of match fixing, drugs in sport and links to organised crime

'The ACC has demonstrated through this project that the threat posed by the PIEDs (performance and image enhancing drugs) market and related criminal activities to the integrity of sport in Australia, and organised crime attempts to infiltrate the professional sports sector in this country, exhibits many of the characteristics identified in the USADA investigation of Armstrong's activities in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s.

'The difference is that the Australian threat is current, crosses sporting codes and is evolving.'

Legal constraints prevent the identification of any particular code, particular teams or particular athletes, but Minister for Justice Jason Clare emphasised that no code was immune.

The heads of the major sporting bodies were at the announcement of the report with Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou, ARU CEO Bill Pulver and NRL CEO David Smith all voicing their shock at the outcomes of the report.

'These are serious matters that require immediate action and the development of a longer term plan,' a statement from COMPPS, which represents all the major sporting bodies, said.

'The integrity of sport as a whole, and our specific codes, is paramount. We have commenced taking action and will work closely with the government on a longer term plan.'

Harsh realities: AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou leaves a press conference at Parliament House

Harsh realities: AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou leaves a press conference at Parliament House

As a result of the magnitude of the inquiry, the federal government has doubled ASADA's (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) resources to tackle this issue.

Sports scientists are set to be at the centre of the ASADA investigations, while the ACC has confirmed that criminal offences have been disclosed by players during the course of their investigation.

'The ACC has identified specific high-performance staff, sports scientists and coaches within some codes who have condoned and/or orchestrated the administration of prohibited substances, and substances not yet approved for human consumption, to players,' said the report.

'In some cases, peptides and other substances were administered to players without them understanding the nature of the substances, and without the knowledge of the team doctor or club medical staff.'

Any athlete found to have breached World Anti-Doping Agency protocols faces a minimum two-year ban from professional sport.

The involvement of organised crime has also raised the spectre of match fixing with the government and all sporting codes moving to beef up integrity measures.

'The ACC has identified an increasing number of associations of concern between professional athletes and organised criminal identities in Australia,' added the report.

'The ACC's 2011 assessment of Threats to the Integrity of Professional Sport in Australia, noted that as the amount of money wagered on sports increases, associations with athletes or other individuals with the ability to influence a sporting contest, or provide inside information, will be increasingly sought after.'

Nick Harris: Well back player walk-offs over racism, says union chief Carlisle

We'll back player walk-offs over racism, says union chief Carlisle

Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins in the vanguard, they want to be seen as the pioneers of a new, clean era in cycling.

Some critics argue that Team Sky's 'no drugs' policy evidently failed in as much as it did not prevent past dopers from working with them.

Any confession by Armstrong could rest on whether he is guaranteed immunity from prosecution for perjury after lying in court cases in the past about his doping.

Frankie Dettori worried he won"t recover from failed drug test

Dettori worried about damage to reputation over shame of failed drug test

|

UPDATED:

08:36 GMT, 6 December 2012

Frankie Dettori fears he may never repair the damage done to his reputation after receiving a six-month ban for a failed drug test.

The popular Italian jockey, 41, will not return to action on the racecourse until a fortnight before next year's Derby, with his suspension, handed out on Wednesday by French racing authority France Galop, running from November 20 to May 19 inclusive.

I've been in hiding since it happened because of the shame factor,' he told the Daily Star. 'It's not very pleasant.

Positive: Frankie Dettori failed a drug test after riding at Longchamp on September 16

Positive: Frankie Dettori failed a drug test after riding at Longchamp on September 16

'People will always remember it. Now when they look at me they won't think of the things I have done for racing in the past 20 years, they'll just think, “He's the guy who got caught with drugs”.

'But you can't change the past and you've just got to move on. I'm ashamed and embarrassed. It was one night of madness with friends.

'I dropped my guard when I was at my weakest. I was in a dark place. I was very low, my job was going down the drain.

'When I woke up the next morning I regretted it but it was already too late. I will regret it for the rest of my life.'

Waiting game: Frankie Dettori is facing a ban of six months for a failed drugs test

Waiting game: Frankie Dettori is facing a ban of six months for a failed drugs test

One of the biggest names in world racing, Dettori tested positive for a banned substance, believed to be cocaine, at a meeting at Longchamp in Paris last September.

Jurisdictions worldwide, such as the British Horseracing Authority, are expected to reciprocate the terms and Dettori's next important date is when he will be summoned to the headquarters of France Galop to be retested towards the end of April.

Unseated: Dettori has been banned from racing for six months

Unseated: Dettori has been banned from racing for six months

Battler: Dettori is determined to bounce back

Battler: Dettori is determined to bounce back

Dettori's suspension was backdated as he had already been prevented from riding in France since November 20 when an independent medical commission spoke to him via a conference call and passed the file on to a disciplinary panel of the stewards at France Galop.

The three-times British champion jockey said the indiscretion came as he feared for his future after his 18-year association with powerful owners Godolphin came to an end in October.

Dettori, who was cautioned by police for possession of cocaine in 1993, said: 'The last three or four months have been very strange.

'It's been frustration, unhappy times. I've been in a bad place. It got to the stage where I wasn't flavour of the month any more and the love was gone.

'Watching someone else riding my horses while I was sat in the weighing room wasn't a thing thing that I was used to.

'I wanted to be in the No 1 car, not the second driver. Inside myself I wasn't happy, which is why I let my guard down – I made a mistake.'

Dettori played down any suggestion the ban could signal the end of his career.

He plans to operate as a freelance in 2013.

'I have still got a good five years left in me,' he said. 'My ambition for the next five years is to get my career back on track and start doing good again.

'I feel like I have a point to prove now. I still need to come back to show I'm still as good as I was.

'I want to redeem my name.'

FRANKIE DETTORI FACTFILE

Born: Milan, December 15, 1970

Father: Multiple Italian champion jockey Gianfranco Dettori

Apprenticed to: Luca Cumani

First winner: Rif, Turin, Nov 16, 1986

First winner in Britain: Lizzy Hare, Goodwood, June 9, 1987.

Champion apprentice: 1989

Champion jockey: 1994, 1995, 2004

Married to: Catherine, five children (three girls, two boys)

Other information: Went through the card with seven winners at Ascot in September, 1996.

Survived a plane crash at Newmarket in 2000.

Has his name on a selection of Italian-style foods. Chain of restaurants in London – Frankie's Italian Bar & Grill.

Television: Former team captain on A Question Of Sport

British Classic wins: Derby – Authorized (2007).

Oaks – Balanchine (1994), Moonshell (1995), Kazzia (2002).

St Leger – Classic Cliche (1995), Shantou (1996), Scorpion (2005), Sixties Icon (2006), Conduit (2008).

2000 Guineas – Mark Of Esteem (1996), Island Sands (1999).

1000 Guineas – Cape Verdi (1998), Kazzia (2002), Blue Bunting (2011).

Enzo Maccarinelli beaten by Ovil McKenzie in controversial fashion

Devastated Maccarinelli controversially stopped in second round as McKenzie retains Commonwealth title

|

UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 9 November 2012

Enzo Maccarinelli was robbed of the chance to win the only belt missing from his collection when his light-heavyweight Commonwealth title clash with Ovil McKenzie was stopped prematurely in the second round.

The Welshman, 32, came under pressure from the champion but appeared in no distress, only for referee Ian John-Lewis to end the fight, much to the bewilderment of the former cruiserweight world champion, and the crowd.

'I am absolutely devastated,' Maccarinelli said. 'The referee apologised to me afterwards.

Taking the blows: Enzo Maccarinelli gets caught with a left hook from Ovill McKenzie

Taking the blows: Enzo Maccarinelli gets caught with a left hook from Ovill McKenzie

'We knew he [McKenzie] was strong but it was my plan to take the shots on the ropes. My hands were up and I blocked his shots until the referee stepped in.'

McKenzie meanwhile admitted the fight could have continued.

'It's not my fault, there's nothing I can do,' he said. 'I will give this guy a rematch anytime. The fight could have carried on, I can't lie about that.'

Maccarinelli was involved in a controversial bout for the second time this year following his British title victory over Shane McPhilbin in March.

Stoppage time: Refree Ian John Lewis explains to Maccarinelli why he stopped the fight against McKenzie. The referee later apologised

Stoppage time: Refree Ian John Lewis explains to Maccarinelli why he stopped the fight against McKenzie. The referee later apologised

That fight was marred by the bizarre decision to end the first round 47 seconds early after Maccarinelli had been knocked down. He was floored again in the third before winning on all three judges' scorecards.

Having endured a torrid four years since losing a cruiserweight unification bout with David Haye at the O2 Arena in London, Maccarinelli had hoped to get back on track against McKenzie after serving a six-month ban for failing a drugs test.

Game over: Maccarinelli looks stunned as McKenzie celebrates his win

Game over: Maccarinelli looks stunned as McKenzie celebrates his win

He looked comfortable in the opening stages, although the man from Derby was the busier man which was also the case in the second session before the controversial stoppage.

The final fight of the evening saw Paul Butler maintain his unbeaten record and claim the vacant British super flyweight title with a stunning first-round stoppage of John Donnelly.

The home favourite delivered a sickening body shot after just 69 seconds to send the Liverpool crowd into delirium.

Boxer Dillian Whyte fails drugs test and faces ban

Heavyweight hope Whyte fails drugs test and faces ban from the ring

|

UPDATED:

19:05 GMT, 8 November 2012

British heavyweight hope Dillian Whyte faces being banned from boxing after failing a drugs test.

The 24-year-old pulled out of a press conference to promote his up coming fight with John McDermott for the English title on November 30 – but the fight now hangs in the balance.

All fingers point to a pre-work out drink named JACK3D, which Whyte used in the lead up to his last bout, unaware that the product had been banned from retail outlets in the UK only weeks before.

It's not all Whyte: British boxer faces Dillian Whyte faces a ban after failing a drugs test

It's not all Whyte: British boxer faces Dillian Whyte faces a ban after failing a drugs test

Whyte and his team have committed to co-operate fully with the UKAD and the British Boxing Board of Control over the next few weeks until a decision is made.

Whyte said: 'I have nothing to hide its a genuine mistake and I urge all boxers to double check all ingredients in all pre-workout drinks they take, I would hate to see another boxer make the same mistake I have.'

MHA is not a steroid and is often referred to by other names on supplement containers: 1,3-dimethylamylamine; dimethylamylamine; dimethylpentylamine; DMAA: forthan; forthane; floradrene; geranamine; and geranium oil.

Graham Arthur, director of Legal at UKAD was recently quoted about the substance, saying: 'Methylhexaneamine (DMAA) is a banned substance ‘in-competition’ that frequently appears in over the counter and internet bought products but not clearly on the label.'

Kolo Toure wants transfer to French club

Toure admits to French fancy as outcast defender eyes Man City exit

|

UPDATED:

12:46 GMT, 1 November 2012

Out of favour: Toure (right) could leave in January

Out of favour: Toure (right) could leave in January

Manchester City defender Kolo Toure has revealed that he is tempted by the prospect of a move to France to play in their fast-improving Ligue 1.

The money pumped into Paris Saint-Germain by their oil-rich Qatari owners has helped them to attract stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and has swiftly improved the quality of France's top flight.

Toure has fallen well down the pecking order at Manchester City since he was suspended for a failed drugs test in March 2011 and he made just 13 appearances as City won their maiden Premier League crown last season.

'Why not France' said the 31-year-old when quizzed on his City future. 'There is PSG, Lille and the league is getting stronger.'

With Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott and Matija Nastasic all being favoured to the Ivorian this season he could be on the move in January.

Toure joined City from Arsenal in a 16million deal in 2009 and plays alongside his brother and international team-mate Yaya at the Etihad Stadium.

Team Sky reiterate zero tolerance drug policy through Dave Brailsford

Team Sky staff must sign anti-doping declaration as Brailsford reiterates zero tolerance policy

|

UPDATED:

22:28 GMT, 17 October 2012

Dave Brailsford re-stated Team Sky’s anti-doping policy as the fallout from the Lance Armstrong scandal continued.

The British team, currently on an end-of-season camp in London, began interviewing its 80 riders and staff, in a bid to rid the team of any individuals who have used drugs in the past.

Honest: Dave Brailsford and Bradley Wiggins

Honest: Dave Brailsford and Bradley Wiggins

'We sat down with everybody this morning and re-stated where we’re at,' said Brailsford. 'We’ve started a process where we’ll meet with every staff member and rider and have an honest and frank discussion.'

Given the scale of cycling’s doping problem, as outlined in graphic detail in last week’s US Anti-Doping Agency’s 1,000-page report into Armstrong, Sky’s zero-tolerance policy presents 'a serious challenge,' admitted Brailsford.

'A lot have said that in the 1990s and early 2000s every rider could have doped,' he continued. 'It’s highly likely, from what we’ve learned recently. But it doesn’t change my belief or my commitment to run a clean team with the same [zero tolerance] policy.

'If someone has a [doping] past, and they’re lying, the likelihood of it coming out is high. The truth is going to come out, and it could be painful for us. If we have to start from square one, so be it.'

Brailsford added that all riders and staff will be required to sign a statement pledging no previous involvement in doping; anybody who refuses to sign it will be sacked.

Lance Armstrong latest: Brian Smith told cyclist he"d never take drugs and was sacked

Brian Smith: I told Lance I'd never take drugs… two weeks later I was sacked

|

UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 11 October 2012


Few years back: Brian Smith in his Motorola days

Few years back: Brian Smith in his Motorola days

It was the autumn of 1994 and I had joined Lance Armstrong on a training ride on the banks of Lake Como.

We had enjoyed a successful season as colleagues on the Motorola team. I was certainly feeling I’d done pretty well in my first year there. I’d won the British title and just completed my first grand tour at the Giro d’Italia. I’d also won the first European race of the season for Motorola. I’d made a contribution. Proved myself to be a good, solid pro.

But Lance wasn’t happy. He’d won the world road race title the previous year but was getting beaten. There were guys in the peloton he just couldn’t live with and what you have to understand about Lance is that he is a winner. He has to win and he could not handle losing.

That year Evgeni Berzin won the Giro and Marco Pantani emerged on the scene, winning a couple of stages.

So, as we’re riding side by side, the conversation turns to the subject of performance-enhancing drugs. He wants to know what I think. Did I think everyone was on them Was the only way to beat them to join them Would I take them

My dad was a Scottish international cyclist and before I turned pro he sat me down and made me promise that I would never fall into that world, that I would never take drugs.

I told Lance the story and told him I could never let down my dad. I’d rather fail as a cyclist than do that. We rode on.

Two weeks later, I was called to a meeting with Jim Ochowicz, who played a big part in Lance’s career and at the time was Motorola team manager. Jim told me I would not be getting a new contract for the following season. I was out.

Conversation: Armstrong asked Smith if he'd ever take drugs

Conversation: Armstrong asked Smith if he'd ever take drugs

I will never know what Lance was getting at that day. Was he seeing if I would be part of his ‘team’ or was I simply one of a number of people he was sounding out

But I have often wondered if saying yes to drugs on that ride would have made all the difference. Would he have kept me on the team Would I have had a different career Would I have been more successful, in terms of results as well as financially I certainly don’t think it helped me, saying no to Lance that day.

In David Walsh’s book, L.A. Confidentiel, he had a testimony from Steven Swart, who is a good friend and was still on the Motorola team in 1995. He claimed in Walsh’s book that the doping started at Motorola in 1995 and he was ostracised by the sport as a result. The power of Lance.

I made a living out of cycling and continue to do so. I’m the general manager of the Endura Racing team and I work as a commentator for Eurosport, ITV and Sky. I also got to ride in the Atlanta Olympics.

Shame: The revelations have stunned the cycling world - but some, like David Walsh, already had their suspicions

Shame: The revelations have stunned the cycling world – but some, like David Walsh, already had their suspicions

But my one great regret is that I never rode the Tour de France. I never raced in the biggest sporting event in the world.

I always knew riders were doping. But even I didn’t realise the full extent of the cheating that has been exposed by the astonishing evidence which USADA has published.

I feel I was cheated out of a ride on the tour and cheated out of a better living — and I’m no different to any rider at that time who took the decision not to dope and was not as successful as they should have been as a result.

As Lance was coming into the sport, cycling was starting to boom. There was serious money to be made and all those who went with Lance made serious money.

I’ve read the testimonies of his 11 team-mates and that’s fine. But they also made serious money and I don’t see any of them handing it back. I don’t see any of them handing back their big houses.

Escape: Armstrong's doping was not caught for many years

Escape: Armstrong's doping was not caught for many years

Christian Vande Velde has admitted to cheating as part of Lance’s gang but I don’t see him losing the big house on the golf course in Girona. These people made a lot of money cheating the sport and cheating people out of it.

A few years ago I set up the Braveheart Foundation and we support young Scottish cyclists financially. I have sometimes questioned whether I’m doing the right thing, encouraging young kids to go into cycling when it could end with drug abuse. I’ve wondered how I might feel if my two boys want to go into professional cycling.

But there are positives to come from all of this and we have a much cleaner sport today. I have no doubt that, in Bradley Wiggins, we have a clean Tour de France champion.

But on the road to this point there have been casualties. For me, it will always go back to that bike ride in Como.

Bradley Wiggins: I was saved from doping like Lance Armstrong

British cycling and Boardman saved me from doping like Armstrong, says Wiggins

|

UPDATED:

23:25 GMT, 11 October 2012

Bradley Wiggins admitted he could easily have been caught up in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal that has rocked cycling.

This year’s Tour de France winner joined British Cycling aged 18 and claimed they saved him from peer pressure that may have led to him taking drugs.

Wiggins, 32, said: ‘It’s not about (Lance Armstrong) as a person, it’s about the culture of the sport and peer pressure.’

A former team-mate of Armstrong at US Postal, Michael Barry, admitted he had doped after becoming frustrated with his performances.

Different directions: Lance Armstrong and Bradley Wiggins in action in the Tour of Spain in 2010

Different directions: Lance Armstrong and Bradley Wiggins in action in the Tour of Spain in 2010

Wiggins said: ‘People like Michael Barry, I can relate to. I don’t envy him the peer pressure at US Postal with Armstrong there. You can’t condemn these people for the rest of their lives, they’re not Jimmy Savile. I’m very fortunate I was in the system. British Cycling supported me. Chris Boardman in my early 20s probably saved me, he taught me to do things the right way. That could’ve been me.’

Wiggins, who rides for the British Sky team, said he had no sympathy for Armstrong, who has had his seven Tour de France titles taken away after the US Anti-Doping Agency released a report into ‘the most sophisticated, professional and successful doping programme in history’.

‘Not really, no,’ said Wiggins. ‘My main concern is that I’m the winner of the Tour de France having to pick up the pieces for other people.

Iconoclast: Wiggins achieved a dream in becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France

Iconoclast: Wiggins achieved a dream in becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France

‘I saw a report on the BBC saying this now leaves the sport in tatters. It is quite the opposite considering the summer we’ve had as a British cycling nation. Now we’re the ones picking up those pieces. We’re the ones that have changed the sport.

‘Steps have been taken a long time ago, which is why we’re one of the most successful sports for catching people.’

Armstrong, who still denies drug-taking, is likely to keep the Olympic time-trial bronze he won at Sydney in 2000 — despite evidence that at around that time he was the main figure in a bullying culture of drug-taking and drug-running.

IOC rules do not allow a medal to be stripped after more than eight years have elapsed.

Golden boy: wiggins followed up victory in France with a gold medal in the men's individual time trial

Golden boy: wiggins followed up victory in France with a gold medal in the men's individual time trial

British IOC member Craig Reedie said: ‘We all welcome the detailed evidence provided by USADA and await the reaction of the UCI (cycling’s world governing body).’

The UCI, especially under former president Hein Verbruggen, are accused of turning a blind eye to what was going on.

Armstrong has kept his deal with Nike, the world’s biggest sportswear brand, who reissued a statement from August, saying: ‘Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.’

The fallout continued. Michele Ferrari, the Italian doctor at the centre of the scandal, is likely to face criminal charges after an investigation. Levi Leipheimer, one of 11 former team-mates whose testimony led to Armstrong, 41, being stripped of his Tour wins, has been suspended from his team Omega Pharma-Quick Step.

Tainted: Armstrong's seven Tour wins were achieved with the use of banned substances

Tainted: Armstrong's seven Tour wins were achieved with the use of banned substances

Britain’s greatest Olympic rider Sir Chris Hoy said: ‘It’s so depressing because of the guy’s books that were an inspiration to people with cancer.

‘It’s the scale that has shocked people.’

Lance Armstrong in Nike adverts denying drugs

'What are you on' The astonishing Nike adverts in which drug cheat Armstrong took on the world

|

UPDATED:

13:26 GMT, 11 October 2012

This is my body and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it and study it, tweak it, listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on I’m on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on

Those words are spoken by Lance Armstrong in a TV advert for Nike that was first aired back in 2001.

Upon release, it was considered strong stuff – but over a decade on, it delivers a much more stunning blow.

With hindsight, it is a quite astonishing statement and question from an athlete who would later be outed as a drugs cheat.

Nike put together the commercial after Armstrong was accused of using drugs to win the Tour de France.

Armstrong is filmed with a needle in his arm during a drugs test, with the seven-time Tour winner stating that he 'can do whatever he wants to it (his body)'.

He is shown during training wearing the uniform of the US Postal team – who ran the most 'sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.'

The advert ends with Armstrong almost accusing the doubters of using drugs by saying: 'Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on I’m on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on'

Viewers can now rightly turn the question back on the disgraced American.

In another advert released in 2009 titled Driven, Armstrong is filmed cycling up – footage that is interspersed with clips of cancer patients.

Again, Armstrong's voiceover drills home his message: 'The critics says I’m arrogant, a doper and washed up, a fraud. That I couldn’t let it go. They can say whatever they want. I’m not back on my bike for them.'

Nike are refusing to cut their ties with Armstrong despite his role as ringleader in the scandal that has rocked cycling.

Despite the mounting backlash against the one-time icon, Armstrong's main sponsor continue to back him.

After the latest revelations emerged, Nike re-released the same statement first issued in August. It reads: 'We are saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted.

'Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position. Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors.'