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”.
'Hysteria' over drugs in AFL
Age crime reporter John Silvester laments the 'nonsense' and 'hysteria' surrounding the AFL drug debate.
“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.
“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".