The West

ARL Commission chief Dave Smith has revealed NRL players and clubs are under investigation following the Australian Crime Commission's report into the integrity of sport.

The ACC said today that the probe had uncovered widespread use of banned drugs in Australian professional sport and also links with organised crime and one possible instance of match-fixing.

The ACC's 12-month investigation, codenamed Project Aperio, focused primarily on two major sporting codes in Australia and collected incidental intelligence on others.

Smith confirmed the NRL had been working with the ACC in recent days and was determined to eradicate the wrongdoers.

“We've worked with the crime commission in the last week or so and information has come forward for NRL specifically that affects more than one player and more than one club,” said Smith at a Canberra press conference where the CEOs from all the major sporting codes were present.

Smith would not elaborate on whether the information is specifically related to drug use or match-fixing.

The key findings of the investigation identified widespread use of prohibited substances including peptides, hormones and illicit drugs in professional sport.

Smith said the NRL had appointed appointed former Federal Court judge Tony Whitlam QC to assist in the investigation process and to establish a permanent integrity unit for the code.

“We've been working with the crime commission on a range of issues that are outlined in the report,” he said.

“We have already begun with ASADA, we've begun the investigation.”

The NRL has also committed to conduct an audit and establish a register of people supplying performance services to players and clubs.

The code also announced sanctions will be imposed on any club or player found to have concealed information in relation to a breach of the NRL Anti-Doping Policy.

Club doctors will be ordered to review any instance where supplements, substances or other procedures may have been administered without their prior approval.

Centralised testing for illicit substances to complement existing club programs will also be introduced.

“We need to be strong, the sport deserves it, our fans deserve it, the majority of our athletes deserve us to be strong,” Smith said.

“It's quite clear this is a very serious issue. What we know and history tells us is that you will get caught.

“We are adding resources, we're totally committed.”


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