The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has released details of a 12-month investigation which has uncovered widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in Australian sport, along with links to match fixing and organised crime
The sensational findings, which have rocked the world of Australian sport, were unveiled at a federal government press conference on Thursday, when the ACC presented their 'Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport' report.
The Commission inquiry identified common use of prohibited substances including peptides - a type of stimulant - hormones and illicit drugs, across multiple different sports.
And the report also indicated that sports scientists, coaches and support staff, as well as doctors and pharmacists, were involved in the provision of drugs, which were often supplied by organised criminal gangs.
The findings from the investigation shatter Australia's reputation as a predominantly drugs-free sporting nation, although specific players, teams and codes were not named for legal reasons.
The report said: "There are clear parallels between what has been discovered in Australia and the USADA investigation into (disgraced cyclist) Lance Armstrong, which underlines the transnational threat posed by doping to professional sport, both from a 'fair play' perspective and as a broader integrity issue.
"The ACC has demonstrated through this project that the threat posed by the PIEDs (performance and image enhancing drugs) market and related criminal activities to the integrity of sport in Australia, and organised crime attempts to infiltrate the professional sports sector in this country, exhibits many of the characteristics identified in the USADA investigation of Armstrong's activities in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s.
"The difference is that the Australian threat is current, crosses sporting codes and is evolving."
World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey, an Australian himself said: "It's a very black day for sport. The enormity of what we're hearing, that surprises me."
And Australia's Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare said: "The findings are shocking and will disgust Australian sports fans.
"Multiple athletes from a number of clubs in major Australian sporting codes are suspected of currently using or having previously used peptides, potentially constituting anti-doping rule violations.
"Officials from clubs have also been identified as administering, via injections and intravenous drips, a variety of substances.
"It's cheating but it's worse than that, it's cheating with the help of criminals."