AFL CEO can notify clubs in report
Several AFL clubs are believed to be identified as having issues with illicit drugs and links to organised crime.PT1M39S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2e8l3 620 349 February 11, 2013
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has been given permission by the Australian Crime Commission to notify clubs that have been identified in the commission's report into drug use, match-fixing and crime links in Australian sport.
Multiple players from Essendon and one player from one other club are under investigation over the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs. Several clubs are believed to be identified as having issues with illicit drugs and links to organised crime.
Demetriou said on Monday he was aware of the club but not the specific player named by the report in reference to performance-enhancing drugs. It is understood the AFL can contact all clubs mentioned in the report, but not go into specifics.
Andrew Demetriou at the press conference. Photo: Eddie Jim
Demetriou sought and received clarification from the ACC about whether the AFL could talk to the clubs involved.
It is up to the clubs to decide whether they will come out publicly.
ACC chief John Lawler said in a brief statement: ''The Australian Crime Commission cannot name clubs and individuals, as they are protected under Section 60 of the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 which protects the rights of persons against reputational damage and the right to a fair trial.''
"Following a request from the Australian Football League and National Rugby League, I have granted permission for both codes to confidentially notify the specific clubs within their respective codes that were identified in Project Aperio.
"Once notified, a club may choose to make it publically known that they have been notified."
At a press conference earlier on Monday, an animated Demetriou said he was keen for transparency over the issue.
"I want to make it clear we have not been told the identity of the one player," Demetriou said at the press conference.
"We're doing our very best to be transparent but this is a very special set of parameters set upon us.
''I've had it clarified this morning with the Australian Crime Commission that we must comply with the parameters that were put upon us by the Australian Crime Commission and its legislation.
''We are not able at this point to notify the particular club where there is a case involving the possibility of WADA-prohibited performance-enhancing drug use for this one player,'' he said.
He said that in ''normal circumstances'' if a player was being investigated by ASADA for performance-enhancing drug use, that investigation would be private.
''What I'd say is, in normal circumstances if a player had tested positive to performance enhancing drugs, ASADA would be conducting an investigation in private and we wouldn't know about it, and there's a potential that a player would be playing in that situation.
"If they are found to be guilty of using performance enhancing drugs, they will be dealt with under the WADA code, and it's exactly the same in this situation."
He said that the AFL would be speaking to all clubs, because as far as the AFL was concerned, all clubs had "vulnerabilities" to illicit drugs. He also repeated his warning that organised crime was a major issue for sport internationally, but that he was relieved match-fixing was not currently an issue in the AFL.
"We are now able to speak to the clubs that are mentioned in the reports and in our briefings to notify them of the vulnerabilities they have to illicit drug use," he said.
Demetriou said that drugs were not a "widespread problem" in the AFL, but said that before the details of who was being investigated were released, it did have the potential to taint all players.
He maintained that there was some positives for the league to come out of Thursday's ACC report.
''What I'm very comfortable about is that there doesn't appear to be any match fixing allegations in AFL football but it doesn't mean that you take your foot off the pedal or you take your eye off the ball,'' he said.
''I stress to all our supporters whether it's the NAB Cup or whether it's our AFL premiership season, come along and watch the football and it's not a widespread problem,'' he said.
But in an interview with ABC1's 7.30 program, Stephen Dank, the sports scientist at the centre of the investigation into Essendon, said that it would be foolish to think that the Bombers were the only ones looking into programs to improve performance.
"I don't think, you know, you'd be sort of foolish to think that Essendon were the only that were looking at these sort of programs," Dank said.
"And I think when you think of what these players do on a week to week and a year to year basis, I think you've got 18 clubs that are all very well coached and obviously all have a very good high performance unit and they want cutting edge."
The interview will air on Monday night.
Earlier, the journalist who interviewed Dank for the program, Caro Meldrum-Hanna, said she found him to be ''an honest individual''.
Speaking on Triple M radio, Meldrum-Hanna said there would be ''revelations'' from the interview.
"You'll hear from what Dank has to say tonight that he's certainly of the view that what he has done is within the rules and regulations," Meldrum-Hanna said.
"I found Steven Dank to be, I certainly found during the interview which was a lengthy one, that he was an honest individual.
"He sat there and answered every question that I put to him, and some of these were certainly pretty hairy ones, and there was at no time where he was ever willing to call off the interview," she said.
"He sat there and endured a very long list of questions which started from his qualifications and his training right up to the time he left Essendon."
She said he did not hesitate in responding to all of the allegations against him.