Article Title

Doping in sport - should it be a crime?


In 2010 the National Rugby League discovered that the Melbourne Storm Rugby League club, had engaged in systematic breaches of the salary cap rules. Across 5 years the club paid players in various ways without disclosing those payments as required under the NRL’s rules. Additionally, those payments were covered up by doctored bookkeeping, and in some cases false statutory declarations about compliance with salary cap rules. In 2013 the Essendon Football Club was investigated by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority for its now notorious supplements program. That program involved the administration of purportedly performance enhancing substances to members of the playing group. The practice was widespread, systematic and involved non-compliance with ordinary record keeping practices, presumably to obscure which substances were taken when and by whom. Both of these are examples of systematic, deliberate cheating in sport, calculated to gain advantage over rivals. Both were punished severely by the administrators of the respective sporting codes. Yet despite these similarities, only the Essendon supplements scandal has been accompanied by serious and persistent calls for criminalization of the behavior underlying the cheating.


Australia, sport, conduct in sport, criminalization, anti-doping legislation

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