sport

Coates wants severe sanctions

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates has called for severe penalties for those involved in drug taking and match-fixing.

A 12-month Australian Crime Commission investigation revealed the increasing use of performance-enhancing substances across multiple codes and highlighted links with organised crime.

Coates, who has called for tougher measures on doping and illegal betting for the past decade, said those caught breaking the rules should be punished to the fullest extent.

"Because of the criminal element exposed today the penalties must be severe," he said.

"I join the major professional sports in saying to those involved in illegal activities in sport that now is the time to put your hand up and tell ASADA (the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency) what you know. As of today you will get caught.

"For some cheats the knock at the door has not come yet, but it will come. Recent events in cycling have shown this to be true.

"Members of the Australian Olympic Team have been banned from betting since before the Sydney 2000 Games.

"Anyone in our team caught betting on Olympic events, or even providing information to family or friends, faces automatic expulsion from the team.

"When it comes to illegal betting in our team, we name, shame and put them on a plane home."

Coates said it would be naive for Olympic sports to think they are immune from the widespread problems outlined in the report.

He said education was the key to ridding sports of performance-enhancing drugs, illicit drugs and systematic match-fixing.

"Elite athletes are well aware of their responsibilities when it comes to anti-doping and illegal betting," he said.

"Our focus needs to be on the sub-elite, the athletes on the way up, and junior sport. Much more work needs to be done here."