Fremantle Football Club are at the centre of a supplements scandal just a day after a damning report into organised crime and drugs in sport was released by the Australian Crime Commission.
Nutritional supplements supplied to the AFL club by Export Corporation (Australia) Pty Ltd between 2008 and 2009 were found to be “unregistered substances”, reports Fairfax Media.
In Federal Court proceedings Export Corporation was found guilty of 35 acts of unlawful importation of products between 2007 and 2008.
Though Nutrition Systems was the business contracted for 2008-2011 by the Dockers to supply the supplements, the parent company Export Corporation copped the $3.1 million fine.
Fremantle was sponsored by Nutrition Systems from 2008 to 2009. It is understood that in 2009 their association with the company ended.
Substances supplied to the club were not permitted on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, the court found.
The supplements provided could promote muscle growth, result in fat reduction and enhance sexual performance, but alarmingly some items had ingredients that were not labelled on the product, or were only meant to be administered with a prescription. Such a breach in standards was a serious matter according to the Department of Health and Ageing, who told Fairfax Media that there could be harmful side effects as a result.
Fremantle were not believed to have used the supplements "extensively" from 2008 to 2009.
"Export Corporation now agrees that its response to those matters was inadequate and based upon a mistaken belief that the TGA's concerns could be addressed by taking certain steps which it now accepts were not sufficient," Justice Perram stated in court.
The judge declared the importation of the products was probably the result of "error in systems control".
The embarrassing case comes in the wake of a momentous day in Australian sport, with the ACC unveiling a report claiming “widespread” use of banned substances involving organized crime, involving a number of sporting codes.
MP Jason Clare described the findings as not just cheating, but “cheating with the help of criminals”.