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EYE-BALL Opinion – A ‘Sports Doping’ Update – a ploy to kill the Obeid and Thompson news cycle –

February 19, 2013
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Title:
– A ‘Sports Doping’ Update –
– a ploy to kill the Obeid and Thompson news cycle –
| Author: EYE-BALL Opinion | 19th Feb 2013 |
Afine story was published today by ‘The Daily Telegraph’ reporter Miranda Devine paying attention to the motives and political intent behind the timing and release of ACC report into ‘sports doping’.

Read the story below:

How Labor hijacked sports bosses at Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport report press conference


| Author: Miranda Devine| Date: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | Link to On-Line Story. |

WHEN the nation’s five most powerful sports bosses fronted a press conference about the Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport report, they thought it would be run by the Australian Crime Commission, which had authored the report and briefed them on its contents.

Instead they found the press conference, at Parliament House two weeks ago, hijacked in dramatic fashion by two government ministers, Sports Minister Kate Lundy and Justice Minister Jason Clare.

“We all honestly thought this was going to be an announcement from the ACC,” said one.

“Then it became an announcement of the federal government at which John Lawler (ACC chief executive) got to speak. All the emotive language and staring down the barrel probably looked good as theatre. Adding us there probably added gravitas.”

All five men feel the press conference could have been “handled better”. But the seriousness of the allegations of organised crime, match-fixing and drugs contained in the ACC report meant they had little choice but to attend.

There were also 12 million other reasons why rugby league’s Dave Smith, AFL’s Andrew Demetriou, rugby’s Bill Pulver, soccer’s David Gallop and cricket’s James Sutherland felt under pressure.

The woman who invited them to Canberra that day on February 7, Ms Lundy, holds the purse strings on $12 million in federal government funding that goes each year to NRL, ARU, AFL, soccer and cricket from the Australian Sports Commission.

After a personal phone call from Ms Lundy urging him to fly to Canberra for the press conference, one sports head felt compelled, “especially when you’ve been the recipient of large amounts of federal government money”.

Two of the five sports chiefs had been in their jobs less than a week when the bombshell fell.

On Thursday, January 31, the day before he was due to start work as the NRL’s new chief executive, Dave Smith, 48, found himself locked in a secure room of the ACC headquarters in Canberra for 90 minutes as ACC head John Lawler read to him selected excerpts from the classified Project Aperio report alleging the widespread use of performance-enhancing substances and illicit drugs in Australian sport, as well as a suspected match-fixing and organised crime.

Unknown to Mr Smith, AFL boss Andrew Demetriou, 51, had flown to Canberra that day for a similar confidential briefing. So top secret was the meeting that Mr Smith and Mr Demetriou had to surrender their mobile phones and sign a confidentiality agreement, under threat of jail.

They were not allowed to read the report but could take handwritten notes as Mr Lawler read aloud selected excerpts relating to their sport.

The briefing was non-specific and they were not given the names of any players under suspicion.

Later that day, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, who is also head of the umbrella sports body, the Coalition of Major Professional & Participation Sports (COMPPS), received a confidential telephone briefing from the ACC, as did Football Federation chief executive David Gallop, 47.

The sports heads were told there would be a press conference some time the following week to release the unclassified version of the report. One received a personal call from Ms Lundy inviting him to the press conference. Most spoke to her by phone in the week before, but their invitations came from the ACC.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday February 5, two days before the press conference, Mr Sutherland, as COMPPS chairman, organised a confidential meeting between the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, the ACC and sports heads, including Kate Palmer, chief executive officer of Netball Australia.

The meeting, attended by about 15 people, was held in a small room in the Qantas lounge at Melbourne Airport.

Mr Gallop and Mr Pulver, 53, were unable to attend but Mr Demetriou, Mr Smith and Mr Sutherland were there, along with Richard Eccles, deputy secretary of Ms Lundy’s Department of Arts and Sports.

Coincidentally, on the same day, Essendon Football Club called a press conference in Melbourne confirming an investigation by the AFL and ASADA over supply of supplements to players last season. The following day, February 6, it was the turn of the new ARU boss Mr Pulver, to have a confidential briefing at ACC headquarters, with the same strict security measures.

Like Mr Smith, he had only started work on February 1, but was in Canberra to talk to the Brumbies about an unrelated matter.

“It was a very serious meeting,” Mr Pulver said.

“That was how they got us to participate in the press conference. The links to organised crime and match-fixing took it to a new level. Obviously I was concerned for the reputation of professional sport in Australia. I felt a responsibility to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other (heads of sport).”

That day, Mr Sutherland also happened to be in Canberra to watch the first international Test match held at Manuka Oval – against the West Indies.

The next morning all five sports heads assembled at Parliament House to provide the extraordinary backdrop for an extraordinary press conference announcing the “blackest day in sport”.

Like the rest of Australia, they’re still waiting for details.

There was always a ‘smell’ to the report’s function – it’s release motive in no way measures or balances with the damage caused to past, present, and future generations of Australian Sporting Codes, Clubs, and their sporting heroes.

The above story gives a perspective to the growing swell of resentment emanating from the Sport industry over the Government’s intent to use sport for political gain. There will be more and it has already started with announcements of Sporting Clubs named in the report commencing legal proceedings against the ACC … read that story here

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  1. The Parable
    February 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Ms Devine (what a presumptuous pen name)
    fails to highlight is;
    that none of the 5 sporting heads were sports luminaries in their own right, but professional managers.

    Might John Grant of ARLC done better than Dave Smith of NRL. Andrew Demetriou is often criticised, as is David Gallop.

    Where Bob Carr was known to have created diversion in NSW State Politics, by having a stash of tricks regarding street crime, prisoner population, re offending rates, and other law and order type issues that would get support of current affairs shows and win votes. The Daily Telegraph would still be telegraphing through Letters to the Editor for days after.

    Kate Lundy and Jason Clare showed naivety at best and sycophancy at worst in fronting this fiasco. It has dis affected ALP heartland in its droves. This is not an issue that will attract plaudits, but hostility. Attacking the sporting deeds of Australian Legends. A particularly young country whose ethos is steeped in adversity, the bush, the sporting legends, the waves of migration all combining in sport etc.

    In the latest opinion polls what % of ALP 1st pref was affected by;
    a) Eddie Obeid
    b) The doping dopes.

    Maybe for the ALP’s next trick as the 98th anniversary of ANZAC day rolls around, they will highlight the unauthorised possession and usage of Laudanum at Gallipoli all those years ago. A sure fire backfire.

    Kate Lundy who is the Dope?

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