Two weeks ago, the ACC was an organisation unknown to most sports fans. Now, as Australian sport adds its own chapter to the Underbelly series, our sporting nation is still left in the dark with not a hint of a night light.
Reports in the press by the ACC chairman John Lawler, haven’t allayed any sporting fan’s concerns.
In fact his comments have merely outlined some circumstantial facts. The way it reads is that athletes through doping and illicit substances are linking themselves to criminals, who are linked to bigger criminal organisations, who control the world’s money and economies markets through untoward gambling.
The ACC was set up to gather information during 2002 as part of the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002. Essentially it was put in place to collect and divulge information relating to the safety and integrity of the Australian community.
In a sense it has similar powers to a royal commission. Information is passed along to the relevant investigators and it is up to their judgement to pursue matters.
There is no doubt that the ACC has presented serious links between sports people and criminals. Athletes, coaches and managers have been called into question, all of them cooperating, as the law states.
You can just picture the whiteboard in the investigation room, with photos drawn and spider web links filling up the space, drawn by the head investigator. At the moment they are only linking everyone to Kevin Bacon – in less than six degrees.
Criminals like normal people, even high flying executives, are no doubt sports fans. It is a criminal’s mindset to be flashy and hang around the glamorous social circuit. It comes with the money.
A social circuit that many athletes also frolic around in. It also comes with the money.
Who knows, maybe these unnamed criminals are just fans? Back slappers, like the welfare manager who likes riding on the team bus.
The point of this article is certainly not to exonerate criminals, even the crime commission has been called into question in 2010 for leaning on their powers.
We all know gambling has become increasingly accessible. You can put ten on the third tier European handball competition with the click of a button in your lunch break.
You can put multiple bets on multiple sports and win, only to be kicked for winning too often. You can even bet on a localised, centralised competition such as the Shute Shield.
Without any accusations of topping up ARU contracts, is it to easy to think that players can easily manipulate markets?
The trouble with gambling, is that it is born from criminal behaviour. The only reason it is legalised is that governments can skim off the top, like the stand over men they are chasing down.
Legal gambling presents a far greater problem to the community than criminals approaching players to buy drugs in the hope that they will come to the party in five years time, and kick a ball wide with 60 seconds to go.
Criminals certainly understand the severity of buying drugs, it would be a big call to imagine that they would name players buying drugs from them on the public forum if they didn’t tow the line.
Ratting on one’s self doesn’t make sense. “Player x bought 700 vials of horse tranquilliser off me.”
“Do you have a copy of the tax invoice?” the judge may reply.
“No, but he said he’d try and get his whole team to lose by ten”. As the judges gavel knocks and the prisoner is sentenced to three years in the state’s finest.
If there is a level of match fixing involved in professional sports, make no mistake, players are in it to make money for themselves. Greed is the central issue in this report. Criminal behaviour doesn’t just come down to underworld identities.
Criminals are only glaring examples of the bad side of human nature. It is the poor laws surrounding gambling, its accessibility, its coverage and its awareness in the community, is by far the greater crime.
Flogging a few peptides to under performing athletes who may not even make it doesn’t look like sound investment strategy at all. Remember, even the ACC has been called into question before.
The report is a gamble, I wonder if Tom Waterhouse.com is offering odds?