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‘Blackest day’ in Australian sport announcement criticised by former world anti-doping head

‘Blackest day’ in Australian sport announcement criticised by former world anti-doping head
May 28, 2014
Legal / Sport /

Former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President John Fahey has criticised the Federal Government announcement that became known as the 'blackest day' in Australian sport.

Fahey said the handling of the landmark Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report into alleged connections between criminals and sport went against how anti-doping investigations should be conducted.

Speaking at the Integrity in Sport Forum - Winning at what price, held in Melbourne last evening (27th May), Fahey stated "I would have liked to have seen this dealt with in a much different fashion.

"I never saw any justification for that public announcement.

"There's no evidence that's come out ... that suggests that was the right decision back then.

"We must be forgiven if we think it was political - I think we have good reason to think it probably was."

Hosted by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF) and Victoria University, the Integrity in Sport Forum - Winning at what price attracted more than 200 sports administrators, athletes, lawyers and media.

On 7th February 2013, the then-Labor Federal Government held a media conference featuring heads of several major Australian sports to make the report public.

Richard Ings, the former Chief Executive of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), famously called it the "blackest day in Australian sport."

Fahey was a Liberal New South Wales Premier and then a minister in John Howard Federal administration before resigning from politics.

His six-year term as WADA President ended late last year.

Commenting on how the ACC's Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport report was released, Fahey added "in my six years as president ... I've never seen any case conducted in a similar manner. 

"It did none of us any good in terms of our confidence in sport to have that situation bubbling away.

"You start to wonder when all this is bubbling around, what the hell is going on?

"All of us will be happy when it's all over."

Outgoing AFL Chief Executive Andrew Demetriou was one of the top sports administrators who fronted the ACC media conference.

Demetriou, one of the panellists at the Integrity in Sport Forum - Winning at what price, was also sharply critical of the ACC announcement.

Demetriou stated "that was a very unfortunate way to commence that investigation

"It damaged lots of very, very good sports, lots of very, very good people.

"I'm not saying that the message wasn't there, I'm not saying the issue wasn't a real issue.

"But the methodology ... that someone devised to announce it in that fashion was really damaging."

Two days before the ACC announcement, Essendon had announced it was coming under a joint AFL-ASADA investigation.

NRL club Cronulla also came under ASADA investigation soon after the ACC report was made public.

The ASADA investigations into the two clubs are ongoing.

Demetriou also strongly defended the controversial joint investigation with ASADA into Essendon.

The AFL hit the Bombers with a range of severe punishments last August, including banishment from the finals.

"The way the AFL and ASADA cooperated and got to an outcome where we were able to deal with the issue relating to the club," Demetriou said

"I don't know what would have happened if we hadn't moved jointly on that.

"It's quite possible it would still be going."

Demetriou also again categorically denied that the AFL was behind any of the damaging media leaks that have punctuated the Essendon supplements saga.

Click here for details of the Integrity in Sport Forum - Winning at what price.

20th May 2013 - AUSTRALIAN SPORT DOPING CHANGES INFLUENCING WADA

18th February 2013 - IOC CONFERENCE TO DISCUSS THE FUTURE OF WADA

7th February 2013 - DRUGS AND CRIME REPORT ROCKS AUSTRALIAN SPORT

 

19th January 2013 - 'SERIAL CHEAT' ARMSTRONG’S DOPING ADMISSIONS QUESTIONED BY WADA PRESIDENT FAHEY 

 

18th December 2012 - INTERNATIONAL SPORT FEDERATIONS GENERATE $2 BILLION IN SPONSORSHIP 

 

1st June 2010 - HARD-HITTING MESSAGE AT THE HEART OF NEW ANTI-DOPING AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

6th May 2010 - AFL FIGURES BANNED IN BETTING CRACKDOWN 

28th January 2010 - AFL WARNS GAMBLING AND DRUG CHEATS 


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