Paul Marsh, the Chairman of the Australian Athletes’ Alliance (AAA), the peak body for Australia’s eight elite players’ associations representing 3,000 professional athletes, today issued the following statement in response to the report of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), ‘Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport Report’:

“The AAA remains ready, willing and able to work with all relevant bodies to tackle the global threats confronting sport including the distribution and administration of performance enhancing and illicit drugs to elite athletes, match fixing and any relationship between the two.
“The ACC report reveals the existence of some major problems in a couple of professional team sports in Australia.  We are particularly concerned with the findings that organised crime is involved in Australian sport and that some coaches, sport scientists and support staff of elite athletes may have orchestrated or condoned the use of prohibited substances and methods of administration.
“We are also alarmed by the finding that, in some instances, athletes have inadvertently become scientific guinea pigs.  Those responsible for threatening the health and careers of players in this way must be held to the highest standards of the law.
“It is clear that corruption and cheating does not begin with the athlete.  Mr John Lawler, the CEO of ACC, was right to describe the athletes as being “exploited,” especially where the corrupting process has begun through organised crime.
“Australia’s players’ associations have a strong track record in dealing with any threat to the integrity of sport and will not hesitate to build on this in a sensible and balanced way based on the principles of partnership, education, strong codes of conduct, complementary legislation and a deep commitment to protecting athletes whose careers and safety are placed at risk and into the hands of corrupting elements.

“The threats to the integrity of sport can only be effectively addressed if the players through their independent players’ associations have a seat at the table. Not only do we enjoy the trust of 3,000 of Australia’s elite athletes across the eight major sporting codes in Australia, our global experience in sports such as football and cricket will assist Australian sport in developing a world class response.
“The AAA is opening dialogue with the Ministers and will seek a briefing in confidence on the many issues that lie behind the report, as it is essential that these are shared with the players’ associations who are responsible for safeguarding the wellbeing of the athletes and the sports that employ them.”
The Australian Athletes’ Alliance is the peak body for Australia’s elite athlete and players’ associations in Australia.  Its eight members are the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA), the Australian Netball Players’ Association (ANPA), the Australian Swimmers’ Association (ASA), the National Basketball League Players’ Association (NBLPA), Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) and the Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA).
For further information please contact:
Paul Marsh
AAA Chairman
c/- Eivion Bowen, Communications Manager, ACA
Telephone: +61 (0) 425 555 569
Brendan Schwab
AAA General Secretary
Telephone:  +61 (0) 417 302 699