AFL legend Tim Watson says "it really has been a dark day for sport" after an Australian Crime Commission’s secret probe revealed widespread drug use, match-fixing and organised crime in our major professional codes.
The explosive findings of a 12-month investigation, codenamed Project Aperio, into the integrity of Australian sport and the relationship between professional sporting bodies, prohibited substances, including peptides, hormones and illicit drugs, and organised crime were released yesterday.
It said the links may have resulted in match-fixing and fraudulent manipulation of betting markets.
Speaking to Seven News this afternoon, Tim Watson said he was shocked by the enormity of the revelations, adding the expose should be a ‘wake- up call’ for Australian professional sport.
"As a sports lover I was shocked by the detail they released today and the enormity of the problem and the breadth and width of this problem stretched across our country," Watson said.
"It really has been a dark day for sport in this country.
"I think there will be a lot of people that will go to bed tonight that will be completely disillusioned by what they've found out today."Watson said it was a wake-up call for sport in Australia, and he hoped the scrutiny will ultimately benefit codes around the country."I think it's a wake-up call for everyone associated, not only with AFL sports, but other elite sports around the country," Watson said."For so long we've thought the corruption and illegal behaviours only existed in sports on the other side of the world but now we know it's on our doorstep."To be perfectly frank what they need to do is they need to add levels of scrutiny to, not just the participants in the sport, but those associated in levels of administration in those sports as well."Some of those participants, be it coaches or the other staff inside AFL clubs, need to keep some self analysis of what sport is really all about because I think that's what today's announcement is all about."Watson said he initially feared his son, Essendon skipper Jobe, could lose his 2012 Brownlow Medal if the club was found to have been doping."(Losing the Brownlow) would be devastating but (Jobe's) not concerned about that, and because he’s not concerned about that, I’m not concerned about that either," Watson said."I have spoken to Jobe and I was concerned, but I had a good convo with him.“It was the first time I’d spoken to him about it since the story broke. I have got an acute understanding now of what’s taken place."Fans have also been left devastated by the latest allegations, saying they can no longer trust their sporting idols.