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AFL drug reports 'inflammatory': Demetriou

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'Hysteria' over drugs in AFL

Age crime reporter John Silvester laments the 'nonsense' and 'hysteria' surrounding the AFL drug debate.

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AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou admits there is a loophole in the league's drug regulation regime, which is likely to be closed during Wednesday's drug summit at AFL House. But he has backed the AFL's drug code despite the scrutiny it is facing.

Demetriou told 3AW on Wednesday morning that reports about exploitation of the "self-notification" aspect of the drugs code had been “grossly inflammatory”.

“I can tell you that it is not being abused to the extent that's being reported… There's probably a loophole there… that I am sure will be discussed today and closed.

Andrew Demetriou arrives for the AFL drug summit.

Andrew Demetriou arrives for the AFL drug summit. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

“We have got two every experienced medical officers and if they believe a player is rorting… the system, I don't believe they will allow the self-notification. I think you'll see today issues around a limit on how many times you can self-notify in a period of time.”

Demetriou expects a “spike” in the numbers of positive drug tests recorded by AFL players this year, reflecting a “dramatic increase” in the use of illicit drugs across Victoria.

However, he does not believe the three strikes drug regime is failing, saying the AFL's policy has been "adopted around the world", and has more benefits than pitfalls.

Despite his support for the status quo, Demetriou insisted that the meeting was an “open forum” and everything was up for discussion.

“I'm a person going into this with an open mind,” he said.

He remains convinced that any players contravening any AFL laws will be caught.

"Like in any group of people, there are some players out there who think they are above the rules and regulations of the code, or above worrying about the image or the role model that they hold in the code… And if they do that… they do that at their peril... There's no place for them in the game."

Demetriou said he had "great confidence" in the AFL playing group and its association, which signed on to the code voluntarily, and that the league had made a significant investment in its integrity department in the past two years

"There are some people who just want to buck the system and I don't think they speak for the whole playing group," he said.

"If players are out there trying to rort the system, I can tell you, inevitably they will be caught. And Lance Armstrong is the perfect example for all."

Armstrong's systematic drug cheating was not penalised by cycling until 2012, years after he won seven Tour de France titles.

The police, the Australian Drug Foundation, the AFL Players Association, club presidents and administrators, and psychologists are among those represented at the forum.

Demetriou said that to the best of his knowledge the Melbourne Football Club did not respond to tanking allegations before Tuesday night's deadline, which he said was "disappointing".

19 comments so far

  • A fact that Andy D seems to be forgetting is that the present days AFL policys on drugs, Darft, and the salary cap have all happened since HE took over the CEO postion. Our Andy seems to have a selection memory at times.

    Commenter
    Red Top
    Location
    Blacktown
    Date and time
    January 30, 2013, 1:40PM
    • ... and your point is??

      Commenter
      Richard Collett
      Date and time
      January 30, 2013, 2:00PM
  • It is time the AFL lifted its game. 'Recreational drugs' are illegal drugs. Steriods & performance enhancing drugs are illegal drugs.
    It is time to get real if AFL is to be seen to be drug free.
    1: all players, officials and administrators need to be part of the same drug testing process.
    2: any player, official or administrator testing positive is banned for 12 months first offence with a life ban for any subsequent ban.
    3: Police need to be involved so that those providing the substances are caught and penalised.

    These need to be implemented now. today.

    If we have 100 positive tests and 100 players/official/ administrators banned it provides opportunity for clean players to play.
    If it decimates a complete team, tough.

    What is the point of stay 'we finally caught Lance Armstrong' when he has not competed for 2 years. No retrospective penalty can give to those who lost because of this type of cheating.

    If in 8 years time the Geelong, Collingwood, Sydney or Hawthorn teams are found to have cheated with drugs or salary cap to win a premiership, how can the team(s) they bet be compensated?

    Commenter
    GerryK
    Location
    Glen Waverley
    Date and time
    January 30, 2013, 2:11PM
    • I think drug taking players should be admired. I tried it once and it was really hard. After three minutes I ran into a goal post, and the game hadn't even begun.

      Commenter
      Devil's Advocate
      Location
      Earth
      Date and time
      January 30, 2013, 2:45PM
  • So here's the thing. Rightly or wrongly my perception is that the AFL is rife with drug use. The problem is that I don't know for sure because there is no open and honest disclosure so therefore the perception continues which affects my overall confidence in the sport. Have you not learn't anything from Lance Armstrong? Is that where the AFL wants this to go because that's where it's headed.

    Commenter
    Smeghead
    Location
    Perth
    Date and time
    January 30, 2013, 2:18PM
    • I assume all those who are pressing for a hard line on recreational drugs are happy for the same rules to apply in any workplace?

      Let's start by saying all politicians and media pundits should be randomly tested for drugs and alcohol with one year ban for first offence and life for a second offence... that should at lest reduce the amount of pontificating

      Commenter
      DavidD
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      January 30, 2013, 2:40PM
      • DavidD, why shouldnt those rules re drug taking take place in the workplace. ( alcohol excluded). Drugs are illegal. Why should an employer have to employ someone who is knowingly taking part in an illegal activity.

        Commenter
        Northcote
        Date and time
        January 30, 2013, 3:43PM
      • Thank you David, 100% agree

        Commenter
        DJ79
        Date and time
        January 30, 2013, 5:59PM
      • The real issue is the players are role models for kids.

        Can you imagine if a Buddy Franklin, Chris Judd, Gary Ablett etc got done for taking illicit drugs?(illicit/illegal/recreational/just plain dumb can kill you...what ever you want to call them) drugs?

        Your average workplace isn't full of public role models. But I am sure the ones are are faced with a fair bit of scrutiny. An AFL player cannot remain anonymous, he is a celebrity.

        Unless you want your 5 year old with a poster of the sporting equivalent of Charlie Sheen on his wall?

        All over the world sporting comps have the same issues. Its about the public image of the club and the game over anything else(and the commercial brands associated with it).

        Commenter
        Barney
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        January 30, 2013, 6:07PM
    • AFL needs to come inline with other sports codes. Wendell Sailor copped 2 years for Coke. This is an illegal drug, not recreational. AFL should adhere to the real world of drug testing. Anything less is failure and their stance as role models will fail. Kids will see in the press that someone has been busted with 'recreational' drugs and think it's ok for them why not me and that is no role model. Wake up Mexico and join the real world of drug elimination in sport...

      Commenter
      Jase
      Date and time
      January 30, 2013, 2:44PM

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