By Emily Goddard

John Coates has urged athletes to cooperate with anti-doping authorities if they want to be picked for the Australian team ©AFP/Getty ImagesAustralian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates has warned his nation's athletes that they must cooperate with anti-doping authorities or they will risk not being selected for future Olympic teams.

The International Olympic Committee vice-president insisted they must agree to work with drugs testers at all times even if it "incriminates them or exposes them to a penalty, sanction or other disciplinary measures" and said support staff will also be under greater scrutiny.

His comments come as the effects of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks supplements controversy, in which players were allegedly given prohibited substances suitable "for equine use only", and the lengthy Essendon Football Club scandal are still being felt in Australian sport.

"I understand them trusting those people, and doing what they're told by a coach employed by a club," Coates said.

"But I'm afraid that's no excuse.

"We have to make sure we get these people.

"The AOC prides itself in leading the way with a lot of anti-doping initiatives.

"ASADA [Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority] would acknowledge that.

"I want to get the message to our sports - and hopefully others outside of the Olympic Movement - so they will look at their obligations.

"They have to do this to protect the health of their athletes.

"We don't want athletes being given equine treatments."

The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks supplements controversy saw head coach Shane Flanagan being handed 12-month suspension, while the club received a $1,000,000 fine ©Getty ImagesThe Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks supplements controversy saw head coach Shane Flanagan being handed 12-month suspension, while the club received a $1,000,000 fine ©Getty Images

One of the reasons for the lengthy investigations into the Cronulla and Essendon scandals was because the players' lawyers did not want to give information that might unwittingly incriminate them.

But silence might no longer be an option for Olympic athletes as the AOC's proposed anti-doping bylaw will require them to "cooperate and assist ASADA by attending an interview to fully and truthfully answer questions, give information, and produce documents in an investigation being conducted by ASADA - even if to do so might tend to incriminate them or expose them to a penalty, sanction or other disciplinary measure".

The AOC has also agreed to implement the new World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, which is due to come into effect on January 1, 2015, with a final decision to be made on November 21.

"What the AOC has done is gone further than the ASADA legislation goes, and what the WADA Code requires, and that is to answer whatever questions that anti-doping authority might have," Coates added.

"That is only going to apply when someone is in our team.

"We have no ability to impose that on athletes before they enjoy our team.

"But if you make our team, and ASADA wants to investigate you, you do have to co-operate and assist.

"You do have to answer questions.

"And if you do not, we will deal with you under our Code."

The AOC changes have, however, come under fire, with former shadow Attorney-General George Brandis and the Australian Greens slamming the proposed rules as "an infringement of people's human rights" at a Senate Committee hearing in March last year.

But Coates argued against this claim and insists the strengthened laws are vital to protect Australian sport.

"I reminded the Committee and him [Brandis] this same power is given to ASIC [Australian Securities and Investments Commission] in order for them to protect the integrity of our financial markets," Coates said.

"I didn't win that.

"But I see nothing different in protecting the integrity of sport - and our athletes."

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