When government regulates sport

Michael Sexton SC had an excellent article published in The Australian this week on the problems that arise when government gets into the game of managing sport:

HOW is it possible that one of the clubs in the NRL, Cronulla, has been dealt a crippling financial blow by an agency of the federal government located in Canberra? Or that it may lose most of its senior players for this season? Or that the same thing may happen to other NRL clubs and some AFL clubs?

The short answer is that the NRL and the AFL, together with the other major commercial sporting bodies in Australia, have agreed with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency that they will suspend players and officials who are found to have used banned substances.

Not that these substances are illegal. They are only drugs that ASADA and its international counterpart the World Anti-Doping Authority consider should not be used. This contrasts with a whole range of performance-enhancing dietary materials and training regimes that are not banned. It presumably can be taken for granted that most aspects of the life of a professional athlete are designed to improve their performance.

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