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AFL players 'no' to daily log of vitamins

The club that felt the impact of a supplements program in 2013 was Essendon.

The club that felt the impact of a supplements program in 2013 was Essendon. Photo: Getty Images

The AFL's players are resisting a push to log their supplement intake via a mobile phone application on a daily basis, as part of the AFL's crackdown on clubs' use and documentation of supplement products and medical treatments.

The players are willing to help the league impose tighter controls on the use of supplements at their clubs and play a more active part in their own treatment, but believe a daily requirement to lodge their information would be too big an ask.

The AFL wants players to list everything from basic vitamins to more complex supplements through a phone app being developed, under a plan presented to club football managers and the AFL Players Association this week.

The app would feature a list of the products and substances on the league's new ''approved'' list, meaning players could then go back to their doctors and club staff if asked to take something not on the list.

The league is keen to get a sense of emerging trends in supplement use as soon as possible - a desire supported by the players, who also want club doctors to be their first and last port of call when determining what they can take.

The AFLPA's alternative proposal would have players meet club doctors and nutritionists about once a month, to discuss the supplements and treatments they required. Each player's regime would be documented and the list submitted to the AFL and amended throughout the month if required.

The players are reluctant to commit to an overly stringent process simply on the basis of Ahmed Saad's poor decision to take a protein powder containing a banned stimulant, which had him suspended under anti-doping rules, and the situation that unfolded at Essendon in 2012.

However, they are happy for their club doctor to have greater authority, for their nutritionists to play a more active part and for the players to take greater ownership of the substances they are consuming, given that adhering to the anti-doping code is their personal responsibility.

The AFL wrote to the clubs in October, advising them of its plans to more strongly regulate clubs' use of supplements and medical treatments in the wake of the investigation into Essendon this year.

The league has been working on an ''approved'' list of substances and products, as well as a prohibited treatment list, a controlled treatment list and a prohibited provider list so that clubs were clearer on what they could or could not do or use.

The AFL's plan is to remove any ambiguity and distinguish acceptable treatments and nutritional substances from potentially dangerous and performance-enhancing supplements.

The crackdown would also ban any person but the club doctor from possessing needles or injectables and ensure substances could only be injected by qualified practitioners, for legitimate medical reasons.

Clubs would be required to adhere to stricter requirements when storing and documenting the substances kept on their premises, and be required to report any invitations to potentially breach the anti-doping code to the league.

More authority would be returned to club doctors under the AFL's planned changes, with doctors required to sign off on every aspect of a player's treatment.

8 comments so far

  • Surely it can't be too complicated can it? Anything you take, run it by the club doctor who in turn has a list of all approved and banned substances from WADA, ASADA and the AFL.

    Date and time
    December 11, 2013, 8:30PM
    • I would have thought the easiest thing to do would be to source anything you take from the club, which would only supply approved substances. Unfortunately Essendon destroyed any trust players could have in that respect. Did they ever found out what that drug from Mexico actually was?

      Date and time
      December 12, 2013, 8:19AM
    • Yes its that easy. The AFLPA and the players are just being difficult.

      Some of these players these days are probably taking that much crap, even they cant keep up with what they are taking. It has all gotten out of control now. Players are pin cushions and bloody robots for sports scientists.

      RIP sport..... in general.

      Date and time
      December 13, 2013, 10:40AM
  • Another sign that the players dont get it.
    This shouldnt be a question put to them, this should be a requirement told to them.
    Its not a conversation, they want to earn the big bucks - follow the rules.

    meanie of me
    Date and time
    December 12, 2013, 5:03AM
    • AFL players - and others in the industry - are so used to "other people" doing things for them that it is almost an insult that they should have any personal responsibility thrust upon them.

      It's almost a wonder that when a lot of them get their free sponsor vehicles to use that they don't insist on a chauffeur being provided as well.

      Think I'm exaggerating?, go ask someone trustworthy inside an AFL club bubble that won't just give you the usual spin.

      Date and time
      December 12, 2013, 9:29AM
      • Surely a compromise could be reached - somewhere between daily and weekly. I can only hope that the app contains a section that requires to tick a box to identify where the supplement was obtained! At the club, personal doctor or privately sourced!!

        Date and time
        December 12, 2013, 11:05AM
        • David I assume you're supportive of the players' stance?

          They surely are correct that the proposal is an over-reaction to a single incident ...or even to the whole peptides saga. The level of surveiillance implied by the proposed app is, frankly, Orwellian and even more so since it relies on the players to participate actively. At the end of the day AFL players are employees and the current testing regime already goes far beyond what any of the rest of us would accept in our workplace.

          The AFL would be better off of it got better lawyers who can write agreements that say what the AFL leadership (yes, you Andrew) claim they say.

          Date and time
          December 12, 2013, 4:13PM
          • next the AFL will want to know what toilet paper each player uses. This is a stupid idea, the pressure should be on the club doctor and the management to list and produce these items when required by authorities'.

            Date and time
            December 13, 2013, 7:18AM

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