NZ's link to Aust drug cheating probed
Sport Minister Murray McCully (file pic)
Sport Minister Murray McCully has asked top New Zealand sports bodies how this country could be caught up in the drugs scandal enveloping Australian sport.
"While the Australian report does not make any accusations about New Zealand athletes, it would be unwise for New Zealand to ignore its findings given the strong level of engagement between sporting teams from our two countries," Mr McCully said on Friday.
He said he had asked Sport New Zealand, High Performance Sport NZ and Drug Free Sport NZ to report back to him on the implications of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report.
On Thursday, ACC revealed it had uncovered a doping scandal across numerous sports, chiefly in Australia's two most popular football codes in rugby league and Aussie Rules.
An ACC report found extensive use of performance-enhancing drugs at all levels of professional sport with links to match-fixing and organised crime.
One sporting club doped an entire team with a new-age group of performance-enhancing drugs called peptides, while one suspected case of match-fixing was being investigated.
Organised crime gangs are dealing peptides to athletes, cashing in on the drug group's status as a fountain of youth in anti-ageing clinics.
"It's cheating, but it's worse than that, it's cheating with the help of criminals," Australian Justice Minister Jason Clare said.
"We're talking about multiple athletes, across a number of codes."
The ACC said the use of peptides, which promote hormone growth and hasten recovery from injury, was orchestrated by some coaching staff and sports scientists in findings described as "the blackest day in Australian sport" by former Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority boss Richard Ings.
Legally, the ACC was prevented from naming in its released unclassified report any sport, clubs or players at the heart of their findings following a year-long investigation.