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Coates wants stronger customs laws

04/08/2004 08:19:09 PM Comments (0)

Australian Olympic boss John Coates hopes customs laws will be strengthened after the Athens Games to better catch athletes trying to import performance-enhancing drugs.

Coates said a recent customs check of Olympic athletes that resulted in the discovery of banned substances sent to Olympic cyclist Sean Eadie in 1998 and 1999 highlighted the problems with current laws.

"The problem we have after we received the information from the (Australian) Sports Commission to do with Sean Eadie was that the Sports Commission realised they could only give information to us on a confidential basis," Coates told a media conference here today.

"That is we gave undertakings we would not do anything with it. We said that was pointless.

"Whether there is more information the Sports Commission has and is sitting on, and with respect they know our attitude, I don't know.

"I do know from discussions with the minister that inadequacy in the Sports Commission's legislation and generally the customs rules ... they are things that will be addressed after Athens and hopefully there will be some changes to the legislation."

Labor Senate leader John Faulkner raised the matter in Federal Parliament today when he asked Customs Minister Senator Chris Ellison how many times Customs had intercepted performance-enhancing substances since 1999 when laws were last changed to allow details of breaches to be passed on to the Sports Commission.

Senator Faulkner also asked how many times Customs had intercepted such products and no follow-up action had been taken either by customs or the ASC.

Senator Ellison said he would report back to the Senate on the number of interceptions of performance enhancing drugs and the subsequent follow-ups to the seizures made, but in some cases these could prove difficult.

"In relation to intercepted performance enhancing drugs, what Customs has in some cases is not the person who sent it but the addressee," he told parliament.

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