Collingwood's Gary Pert. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
COLLINGWOOD chief executive Gary Pert has described comments made by players' union boss Matt Finnis as ''inaccurate, ignorant and inflammatory'' as tension over the illicit drugs debate escalates.
Pert, who has emerged as a key figure in the push for change to the three-strikes code, was incensed with Finnis, claiming the AFL Players Association boss, while defending the policy, had taken ''pot shots'' by declaring ''we do not need posturing and speculation by officials and the media''.
Finnis also claimed: ''It is ridiculous and self-serving to blame the testing regimen for the fact that a small minority of players have used illicit drugs.'' This prompted Pert to respond in an email sent to AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou and club chief executives: ''You stated in your article illicit drugs are used by a small minority of AFL players - based on this claim have you ever done a detailed, independent study on exactly how many players in the AFL use illegal drugs at any stage during the year? No. Has anyone completed a detailed study on behalf of the clubs on the ongoing impact of the speculation around player behaviour in regards to illicit drug use? No. Are AFL players exploiting the loopholes in the current IDP created by the AFL and the AFLPA? I'm interested in your thoughts.''
While Pert did admit he and Finnis shared a common commitment to deal with the drugs issue, Pert wrote: ''Your statement that there is no need for 'contributors' to think about the AFL and club brands and reputations is a sad indictment to come from the head of the AFLPA.''