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Pies don't spy on players: Pert

Drugs summit wraps up The AFL world meets to discuss the controversial topic of illicit drug use.
I would say that clubs are taking reports from the community, from police very seriously
Gary Pert
COLLINGWOOD chief executive Gary Pert says the Magpies take very seriously any tips from police or the community about AFL players taking illicit drugs.

However Pert says he knows nothing about a Fairfax Media report claiming clubs have resorted to spying on players to establish if they're using party drugs such as cocaine.

"I haven't heard of any surveillance by clubs. It hasn't occurred at Collingwood since I've been been there," Pert told a media conference on Friday.

"I would say that clubs are taking reports from the community, from police very seriously when we hear or behaviour issues of our players.
"Over the last two or three years the clubs have needed to understand that and that goes right to your leadership group as well.

"The player groups ... need to understand what's happened and the background and the clubs will do what's required to find out that information.

"But surveillance stuff - I've never heard of it."

Debate continues over the League's policy on illicit drugs after former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett savaged Wednesday's drugs summit which produced no immediate changes.

The three-strikes provision of the policy will remain after it was backed by all clubs.

Any further recommendations for change - including the contentious issue of when to alert club bosses a player has been caught using drugs like ice and ecstasy - will be left to a working party of three club chief executives, AFL medical officers, the AFL Players Association and outside medical experts.

"We're very proud of the fact we've been proactive in the involvement of what was put together for Wednesday," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said.

"A lot of information was put out in the open that many of the stakeholders may not have been aware of the realities of other stakeholders within it.

"So there's been a lot of talk and right now you're looking forward to see the actions that are going to come from that.

"We want to win games of footy but we want to produce good people and very mature people as well."

Buckley said it would be a tricky situation if he felt the need to approach a player regarding suggestions of drug use.

"The trick is to build a relationship with people and a trust within the environment of a football club that you believe you can be able to have those hard conversations about anything, on-field and off-field," he said.

Meanwhile, Pert said he was "very surprised" by a proposed luxury tax.

The contentious proposal would apply to the high-spending and wealthier clubs in the competition.

The AFL revamped its extra special distributions in late 2011, which provides payments on a needs basis.

But Pert said he was staggered when the issue again bobbed up this week, believing it was done and dusted.

"I was a little bit surprised when this whole equalisation debate surfaced," Pert said.

"As a club, Collingwood signed off on that 'dis-equal' contribution, specifically so we wouldn't be going through this. So we wouldn't have our revenue streams re-attacked.

"It's amazing that a year, 18 months later, we're reassessing that. So I'm very surprised."
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs