Australia’s blackest day in sport

David Lord Columnist

By , David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    It has been reported that Essendon players have received show-cause notices from ASADA. (AFL media/Slattery Images).

    Yesterday colleague Glenn Mitchell brilliantly covered the biggest bombshell in Australia sport this century. Drug-taking and match-fixing on a grand scale has surfaced after a 12-month investigation by the Australian Crime Commission.

    The results are breath taking.

    Hold the phone, let’s take a step back to try and take it all in. Federal Justice Minister Jason Clare was full of accusations yesterday, but no substance.

    He painted a gloomy picture, and we would be naïve, in fact plain stupid, not to sit up and take notice.

    But where were the answers, Minister?

    Every sport in Australia has regular drug-testing. Obviously those tests fall well short of the mark.

    As for match-fixing, it’s a potential blight on every sport. So why are major sports in Australia promoting betting agencies on television on a regular basis?

    Not for one minute am I suggesting those agencies are the launching pad for match-fixing. But match-fixing is all about punting, and where there’s smoke there’s fire.

    Let’s face it, sport is the engine room of Australian life. Take sport out of the equation and Australia would be a boring country.

    One of the great pleasures in life is the ability to salute our sporting stars – and in some cases revere them.

    On the other side of the coin, if athletes have to cheat, why compete?

    There are no better examples of being found guilty of drug-taking in recent times than track star Marion Jones, stripped of her Olympic medals, and cyclist Lance Armstrong, stripped of his record-breaking seven successive wins at the Tour de France.

    Two ‘phenomenal’ athletes who had to cheat to compete.

    These are early days, but thanks to the ACC the cheating door has been kicked down and from here on in the air should be clearer.

    What we are hearing and reading now is distasteful, grubby, and not acceptable. It’s not the Australian way.

    It’s up to the Federal and State governments, in conjunction with every sport in Australia, to right the wrongs.

    It’s a massive ask the administrators must win across the board.

    It won’t happen overnight, but where there’s a will there’s a way.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles