The integrity of Australian sport remains strong, but it is at a critical juncture. This was the key message when Damian Voltz from the National Integrity of Sport Unit delivered the opening address at this week’s Sport and Crime Conference at Griffith University.
“Australians can still watch their sports knowing that the games and events have not been undermined by match fixing, widespread doping and that competitions are not being manipulated by organised crime groups,” he said.
“International experience has shown that Australia cannot be complacent. Now is the time to work hardest to ensure organized crime does not get a foothold in Australian sport.”
Griffith’s Gold Coast campus hosted the conference which examined sport and crime from a number of angles.
Professor Bob Stewart, Victoria University, argued that the anti-doping enforcement policy was not working and put forward a case not to ban but to regulate drug use in sport.
Ellen Bloxsome, Griffith University, presented an analysis of Queensland media coverage of sport, with the focus on the off-field behaviour of athletes and how the media treated it.
Richard Redman, former Director of Legal Services, ASADA and current legal counsel to Cronulla Sharks, offered an insight into the packaging and shipping of performance enhancing drugs, and new approaches to detection.
Griffith University’s Dr Terry Engelberg and University of Canberra’s Dr Stephen Moston discussed psychological profiling of elite athletes intending to use performance enhancing drugs.
Their survey of 436 development athletes revealed 7.8% of respondents said they intended to use performance enhancing substances.
The psychological profiling also investigated characteristics of athletes compared to average people and to criminals, and found athletes were more prone to criminal behaviour than non-athletes.
Dr Vanessa McDermott, ANU, discussed a new research project starting in the Pacific which will examine how cultural attitudes may impede or contradict anti-doping strategies.
Matthew Dunn, Deakin University, explored the growth of gambling and sport, highlighting 332 ‘episodes’ of gambling marketing across the three State of Origin games in 2012.
“Gambling and sport is becoming more unacceptable,” he said. “Public Health is about re-defining the unacceptable.”