New sport corruption fight to begin

A new entity to fight sporting corruption in Australia will officially come into being this Wednesday.

David Sharpe is in no doubt about the challenges of leading Australia's fight against corruption in sport.

But he's adamant the nation is now a world leader by creating Sport Integrity Australia.

Sharpe will head up the new entity, which officially comes into being this Wednesday.

His task? Help combat doping, organised crime, match-fixing and child abuse, among other integrity issues, in sport.

"It's a major challenge and major responsibility to pool all this together to protect sport," Sharpe told AAP.

Sport Integrity Australia replaces the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) while also bringing under its umbrella all other sporting integrity matters.

"This is certainly world leading," Sharpe said.

A former Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner and rugby league player, Sharpe was boss of ASADA since 2017.

And he's in no doubt about the task ahead for Sport Integrity Australia.

"It will sit with me to target organised crime and the impact to sport," he said.

"That is a big challenge but certainly one I intend to use all my influence and knowledge of 30 years of policing and sporting background and all the relationships I have built over that time to make sure that we have a collective capability to land it."

Under legislative changes, Sport Integrity Australia will have greater powers.

It will be able to target people Sharpe describes as "facilitators" of corruption, from those supplying prohibited substances to organised crime.

The organisation also has greater flexibility when dealing with athletes at lower levels who, as Sharpe puts it, "don't have the education and welfare aspects" involved in elite sport.

A new National Sports Tribunal will handle hearings instead of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, a move Sharpe says will save at least 30 days in doping hearings, while athletes no longer have the right not to self-incriminate.

Sharpe will work closely with integrity units of elite sports, as well as law enforcement agencies in Australia and abroad, to better coordinate efforts.

"There is phenomenal capability in the sports' integrity units and in law enforcement to target particularly organised crime infiltration in sport and integrity threats," he said.

"Really, the desire is there. It's just about providing leadership and building the processes and the systems and platforms for all of this to be coordinated.

"Building integrity frameworks that are consistent from the highest levels of sports right down to community sports will be critical."


AAP