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AFL aims for toughest drugs code in world sport

Ben Guthrie  May 20, 2013 11:58 PM

AFL 2013 Media - AFL Media Conference 160513

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou says the League's updated drugs code will be tougher than WADA's guidelines

ANDREW Demetriou says the AFL is seeking to have the toughest drug code in world sport.

In an extensive interview on Channel 9's Footy Classified, the League chief said the Essendon supplement saga had exposed the need for greater checks and sterner policies.

"I think we'll have a stricter (drug) code than any other sport in the world," Demetriou said on Monday night.

That would mean the AFL might look into banning supplements, even if they are approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency or the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, he confirmed.

Demetriou said the release of the Australian Crime Commission report into drugs in Australian sport early this year had proven the WADA code was not extensive enough.

The League boss said he believed the advantages of taking supplements should be removed from the game.

"From a personal perspective, my view's never changed. I believe our sport should be pure, I believe our sport should be about who can survive longest on the footy field," he said.

"I don't like this pharmacological warfare, but that's a personal view."

Demetriou said the AFL would crack down on access to player changerooms, with more vigilant checks on who is allowed in those areas before and after games.

He said the ACC report had highlighted how "vulnerable" the sport was and stressed the League would do "whatever it takes to mitigate that risk".

The League chief also said the AFL would await the recommendations of interim Melbourne CEO Peter Jackson before deciding what sort of help the rebuilding club needed.

But he stated the Demons needed to "lift" for the good of the competition.

Demetriou also confirmed he was awaiting a report after an investigation in to the link between Demons club doctor Dan Bates - who has stood down from his role - and sports scientist Stephen Dank.

Demetriou also said:

- He was not "crystal clear" about the rules regarding what players can and cannot do in marking contests

- He understands people's confusion about the adjudication of marking contests

- AFL football operations boss Mark Evans has sole responsibility over the direction of umpires, while Demetriou, himself, has no say in the matter

- Evans was looking into different technologies to improve the accuracy of the goal review system

- He believed the right decision was made on Darren Jolly's non-suspension for bumping Mathew Stokes, while he said James Kelly was rightly suspended for his collision with Brendon Goddard

- The League is satisfied with Greater Western Sydney's progress, despite critics' concerns about their competitiveness and crowd figures. 

Ben Guthrie is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_BenGuthrie