Thursday 7 February 2013

It isn't a shock that sportsmen cheat

The news today of widespread drug use involving scientists, coaches and players in Australia has been labelled as 'shocking'.  I couldn't agree less. It is a widely held belief - backed up by more than a few rumours regarding some - that top sports stars in the UK are just as guilty.

What I do agree with is this report in the Sydney Morning Herald which says the report "points the finger of blame" at the administrators of the sports. For too long sports all around the world - which are multi-million dollar/pound/euro businesses are run as if we are still in the amateur era. The result: none are willing to take responsibility and get their house in order. Many draw comfort that a scandal of the magnitude of Lance Armstrong hasn't happened to them. Yet.

Some may say that the disclosures are too vague and now leaves a shadow over all of Australian sport. For a country where sport and competing is at the heart of their national identity let us hope this isn't the case. Instead the authorities need to take firm, rapid action and follow up on their initial ground-breaking investigation. Sponsors should reward those sports that embrace change and transparency.

It should now be the turn of other countries to follow the lead set by Australia. They have been brave and should be commended for it. This isn't merely a few individuals less willing to work hard to make the most of their talents but criminal activity of huge proportions. If it is happening in Australia it is happening in the UK too.

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