O'Byrne issues call for assurances on doping

SPORT and Recreation Minister Michelle O'Byrne is writing to the Hawthorn Football Club, the North Melbourne Football Club and the Tasmanian Institute of Sport seeking assurances on doping.

Ms O'Byrne said she wanted to ensure protocols around the use of banned and illegal substances were being strictly enforced.

She said Tasmania had significant relationships with these organisations, and it was incumbent on her to seek assurances following last week's Australian Crime Commission report identifying high levels of drug use in Australian sport.

"Without doubt, this is an extreme low point for Australian sport," Ms O'Byrne said.

"For a nation that until now had prided itself on a sense of fair play, the ACC report has revealed a sinister culture of rule breaking to gain unfair advantages across a range of sports.

"We have to be realistic and understand that Tasmanian sport could be exposed to these practices.

"While I have full confidence in our TIS [Tasmanian Institute of Sport] athletes and coaches, it would be naive to think it could not happen here."

Ms O'Byrne stressed that she had no information that would identify any Tasmanian individual, club or organisation involved in what appeared to be a growing scandal.

"While I will receive a briefing along with other sport ministers on the ACC report, I felt it was pertinent to write to the TIS and the two AFL clubs who are sponsored by the state government and the TT- Line, to seek their assurances that they are doing everything in their power to ensure their athletes and players are not engaging in illegal doping," she said.

The state government signed up Hawthorn for a $3million a year deal over five years to play football in Tasmania.

The wholly government owned TT-Line signed a three-year, $1.5 million deal with North Melbourne to play two games a season in Hobart.

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