Australian sport's darkest day says former boss
"The blackest day in Australian sport".
That's how former Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority boss Richard Ings described the revelations of widespread doping revealed by the Australian Crime Commission on Thursday.
The ACC released the findings of a 12-month investigation that found banned drugs were being widely used in Australian professional sport, some with links to organised crime which may have led to a case of match-fixing.
"This is not a black day in Australian sport, this is the blackest day in Australian sport," Ings told ABC News 24.
Ings added that the shocking findings had their roots in networks established when ASADA was set up.
"When ASADA was launched in 2006 one of the mandates from both sides of government was for ASADA to develop pro-active relationships with agencies of law enforcement," he said.
"And in that time ASADA has developed relationships with Customs, the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Australian Crime Commission to show leadership in developing a co-ordinated anti-doping framework.
"This is the fruits of that labour going back many years."
Despite the grim news, Ings said he was confident ASADA's newly-supplied coercive investigation powers meant Australia was better placed than any other country "to handle this worst-case scenario."
Asked if Australians were naive about the possibility some of their elite may take performance-enhancing drugs, Ings was again straightforward.
"I think we have been seduced by the romantic nature of sport," said Ings.
"There has been a belief with some sports and even with some officials that doping just would not take place in Australian sport and if it did it was isolated and sporadic.
"I doubted those claims, the evidence pointed contrary to those claims and the evidence that has been presented today vindicates the fact it is a widespread issue."