As a long suffering sports fan and tipster of some repute I have become increasingly sceptical of the world of sports and athletes. It is food for thought given how much time and money we invest into sport.
WADA's David Howman recently admitted that a quarter of sport is linked to organised crime and that scares me.
The link between drugs, matchfixing, organised crime and sport is scary. While it isn't prevalent at all levels of sport, in recent times there have been plenty of links between these.
Athletes require drugs and supplements to come into the country and criminals know how to get them. There is also plenty of money at stake and exchanged through both betting and prizemoney.
Most sports have their issues, but the boxing fight between Sonny Bill Williams vs Francois Botha summed it up for me. The fight strangely finished after only ten rounds when the hot favourite Sonny Bill Williams looked like losing, while Botha was accused of failing a drugs test by SBW's manager, potentially in an attempt to save face. Botha then claimed that he had been offered $150,000 to take a dive before the fight by the same manager. Are any boxing matches not fixed given how much money and fame is at stake? Is boxing like WWF wrestling now with it being fake, but nothing more than entertainment?
The Lance Armstrong drugs saga which cast shadows of doubt over the entire sport over the last 15 years has also done more harm than good. Cycling has some credibility issues and it is difficult to know what results to take as fact and which should have an asterisk beside them. It is also tough to know how widespread the cheating got to.
The Australian Crime Commission scaringly found a link to drugs, matchfixing and organised crime too and it was in the sports that we follow closely like rugby, football and rugby league. These findings turned my world upside down in many ways. The problem is that modern sport is so physically demanding with players trying to earn enough money for as long as they can to support their families. Taking sports supplements is common practice, but some of these may also include banned substances, especially if they are being imported from dubious sources. Other sports considered to be of good standing like golf and tennis have also come under scrutiny. Was our very own Sir Bob Charles cheating by getting benefits from his deer velvet?
Matchfixing in sport is also prevalent with cricketers often getting involved with spot fixing. The trouble is as Hansie Cronje found out, if you give these bookies and characters of the underworld an inch, they then won't leave you alone and threaten to hurt the people around you. The Pakistani cricketers who were recently found guilty of matchfixing got in too far and who knows what threats their family were getting? Spot fixing involving bowling noballs was the main thing that Mohammed Amir was seen to be doing. Ryan Tandy the Australian rugby league player is another person who got in trouble for a similar thing in an NRL match. What about the Italian football matchfixing saga of more recent seasons, surely the mafia had something to do with it.
The Oscar Pistorius case where his girlfriend was killed could be another instance where something unsavoury has happened as part of a murky underworld. Is there potentially some more scandal to be revealed in this case relating to the combination of sport, money, drugs and crime?
Do you still watch sport despite the potential drugs cheating, matchfixing and crime associated with it? While I enjoy sport, I see it as entertainment and don't take it as seriously as I used to. What other revelations do you expect to see?