Bart Simpson was right. Everything is backwards in Australia. Teams are forcing players to take injections against their will even to the point of forcing them to get them at “off-site” locations. It’s almost as if teams are renditioning their own players to black sites and pumping them full of “vitamin boost” injections.
The teams, which include two other Melbourne-based Aussie Rules teams besides Essendon, claim the injections contain vitamins B or C are legal. Players and anti-doping authorities suspect that they are actually taking peptide GHRP-6 which is similar to HGH and banned by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.
Some players insist the injections were nothing but vitamin supplements which helped them sleep at night and recover from injury. However other players were suspicious of the forced treatments. Some including current Essendon players met with the AFL Players Association after being forced to sign consent forms and confidentiality agreements.
That’s bad enough however the scandal goes from Aussie Rules through rugby league to organized crime syndicates. The Australian Crime Commission just concluded a year-long investigation and found the following:
Despite being prohibited substances in professional sport, peptides and hormones are being used by professional athletes in Australia, facilitated by sports scientists, highperformance coaches and sports staff. Widespread use of these substances has been identified, or is suspected by the ACC, in a number of professional sporting codes in Australia. In addition, the level of use of illicit drugs within some sporting codes is considered to be significantly higher than is recorded in official statistics.
The ACC has also identified that organised crime identities and groups are involved in the domestic distribution of PIEDs, which includes peptides and hormones. If left unchecked, it is likely that organised criminals will increase their presence in the distribution of peptides and hormones in Australia.
The ACC has identified significant integrity concerns within professional sports in Australia related to the use of prohibited substances by athletes and increasing associations of concern between professional athletes and criminal identities.
The entire report can be read here in PDF form. An HTML version should be available by February 15 as noted on the ACC website.
Several other substances besides GHRP-6 were named in the report as being discovered in the investigation however one name is a constant with every team caught up in the doping scandal.
Steven Dank is referred to as a “sport science guru” or scientist who advised Essendon as well as several rugby league teams. He has no medical degree however managed to work with several teams across different sports. He is also tied to a convicted drug dealer and biochemist Shane Charter who also goes by the name of Dr. Ageless. Charter, who personally worked with several AFL stars, supplied Dank with supplements illegally imported from China.
Essendon denies Charter had any involvement with the club but other sources informed The Age that his role and association with Dank was known.
Federal police warned AFL clubs about the increasing presence of hormones and peptides prior to the Essendon scandal investigation.
A federal policeman told AFL chief executives that peptides and human growth hormone or its equivalents were ”flooding” into Australia and were often associated with gymnasiums with questionable connections.
The ACC report notes the infiltration of organized crime into unregulated markets as well as “legitimate businesses, contractors and consultants”. Drugs obtained through these connections which in turn might have led to the possibility of “match-fixing and manipulation of betting markets“.
Home Affairs and Justice Minister Jason Clare made a statement on the ACC report this morning.
There’s no telling what the fallout will be from this scandal which almost makes Victor Conte and BALCO look like AAA ball. The number of players and teams caught up in this could rock Australian sports to its core. There’s the possibility that teams wouldn’t be able to field full squads due to the amount of players who may be penalized for doping. The organized crime element takes the investigation to a new level especially if it moves towards match-fixing. Stay tuned.