WITH the ramifications of the Australian Crime Commission’s drugs in sport investigation still reverberating through the major codes, the focus has shifted to how professional sport will deal with the issues.
The report will not stop the drug cheats, although it might catch some.
The will to win at all costs will remain one of the big problems in professional sport. Teams and individuals constantly look for the edge that will provide them with an advantage over their competition.
It is big business. And to the clubs, success is worth a lot of money.
The Australian Crime Commission will deal with the legal and criminal issues, but the codes and clubs must deal with the problem on a day-to-day basis and must also regain the confidence of the fans.
After all, the fans are the real victims here. They have been cheated, deceived and robbed of the value of real competition.
The Australian Football League in particular needs to review its three-strikes policy on drug use which favours the drug users.
It, and the other codes, should adopt a zero-tolerance policy. If you want to use drugs, or you want to throw games to make money illegally through gambling, then there is no place for you in professional sport.
It puts all players on a level playing field. Everyone is treated the same and is dealt with the same way. It is then up to the individuals to make the choices that protect their wellbeing.
While pledges are simple to make, the professional codes need to build into their contracts clauses that specifically deal with drug use and match fixing.
They need a regime that tells the players they are being watched and their actions are being scrutinised all the time. It is the clubs which need to clean up this mess, or they run the risk of alienating the fan base which is the foundation of their respective codes.
Fans and the public want some real action here. They want leadership and they want to see serious ramifications imposed on those who want to cheat.