AFL DEPUTY CEO Gillon McLachlan today said the Australian Football League (AFL) wished to make the following statement following widespread commentary in recent days:
"The AFL has the integrity of its on-field competition as the highest priority for our fans, players, clubs, coaches, officials and partners.
"We are aware of vulnerabilities to potential Performance and Image Enhancing Drug (PIED) use across the AFL and we will work closely with ASADA to address these matters."
In terms of identified instances of possible PIED use in the AFL:
- The AFL is aware of only two specific cases where WADA-prohibited PIEDs may have been used in the AFL.
- The AFL is aware of one case involving the possibility of WADA-prohibited PIED use by one player at one Club.
- The AFL is aware that a second case involves the possibility of WADA-prohibited PIED use by multiple players at another Club. In this case it is possible that players were administered the WADA-prohibited PIEDs without their knowledge or consent.
- The AFL is not aware of any other specific instances where use of WADA-prohibited PIEDs may have occurred. Nor is the AFL aware of any current or ongoing use of WADA-prohibited PIEDs in the AFL competition.
- Further, the AFL is not aware of any instance of suspected match fixing in the AFL competition.
All possible instances of WADA-prohibited PIED use identified will be investigated fully in co-operation with ASADA, to determine if there have in fact been any breaches of the AFL Anti-Doping Code.
The AFL is also aware of a serious issue around the use of illicit drugs by players around the competition and this will continue to be addressed through multiple means, including the AFL Illicit Drug Policy, education and partnership with the relevant key bodies.
Separately, the AFL Commission announced on Thursday the measures that would be immediately undertaken to enhance the AFL's integrity safeguards:
- The AFL will make a significant investment to increase the powers and resources of the AFL Integrity Unit including more people, technology, intelligence-gathering capabilities and testing
- An audit will be held of every Club's use of supplements and other treatments in conjunction with ASADA
- The AFL Medical Commissioners will meet all club doctors to review their practices and their supervision of treatments, particularly the use of external practitioners, and report back to the AFL Commission
- The AFL will introduce the mandatory reporting of doping activities or any approaches to engage in doping, similar to those rules that are already in place for gambling and match-fixing
- We will enhance the registration of all club staff and personnel who have contact with players including sports scientists and high performance managers, and there will be appropriate background checks such as qualifications, CVs and which sports they might have worked in. This will apply to all club personnel, not only those who work in football departments
- We will establish a whistleblower service, and
- An audit will be undertaken of the backgrounds of all club employees, contractors and consultants.
In addition, the AFL called on State Governments to strengthen information-sharing arrangements between police agencies and other investigative bodies and approved sporting bodies as part of efforts to fight the infiltration of organised crime, and also for the introduction of criminal sanctions for those who traffic prohibited substances.