AFL CEO Andrew Dillon in March 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

AUSTRALIA'S anti-doping body has cleared the AFL of allegations raised in Federal Parliament, while making a series of recommendations about the League's illicit drugs code.

The investigation into claims made by independent MP Andrew Wilkie has also prompted Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) chief executive David Sharpe to warn that "all Australian sport has reached a crossroad in dealing with illicit drug use, player mental health and wellbeing and criminal infiltration of sport".

"Significant intervention is required immediately to address the illicit drug culture in sport and the increasing and unacceptable risks posed to players, officials, clubs and sporting codes," Sharpe said.

SIA found that there had been no breaches of the World Anti-Doping Code, and there was no evidence that clubs feigned injuries to players to cover up a positive test to illicit drugs.

However, SIA's report, which was released on Monday morning, said the confidential nature of the AFL's Illicit Drugs Policy's medical model had created a "level of suspicion".

There are eight key recommendations in the SIA report, including independent oversight of the League's Illicit Drugs Policy.

In late March, Wilkie used parliamentary privilege to allege widespread drug use at AFL club Melbourne and a League-wide secret testing regime.

That sparked the SIA investigation, and its widespread findings were made public on Monday morning.

AFL CEO Andrew Dillon said the League had been confident "from the outset that the allegations raised in Parliament did not reflect either the intent or operation of the Illicit Drug policy."

"We welcome the findings of Australia's sport integrity agency that found zero evidence to support the claims," he said.

"We take the integrity of our sport extremely seriously.  It is important to reinforce the point that we do not in any way condone illicit drug use but we accept that we have a responsibility as a code to try and change behaviours of those that do make the mistake of trying/using illicit drugs.

"Our AFL Illicit Drugs Policy is unashamedly based on a health and safety model… it is a policy that has helped many players that have had a substance problem to change their behaviours and it is a policy that will continue to evolve to deal with a societal issue."


SIA said in a statement that its findings "significantly identified there were no breaches of the World Anti-Doping Code through any anti-doping rule violation by AFL players or support personnel or that injuries were feigned to cover up for positive drug testing during the week by the AFL or club doctors.

"Through the assessment, SIA identified integrity threats posed by the purchase of illicit drugs by players and noted this is an issue relevant to all sport in Australia.

"SIA noted the long-established AFL integrity unit and the fact the AFL is one of the few sports to implement an illicit drug policy.

"SIA recommends the continued expansion of the AFL's intelligence capability to manage emerging threats."

The eight recommendations also include the need for greater education on the AFL's illicit drugs code and the anti-doping policy.

SIA noted the AFL is one of few sports to have an illicit drugs policy, separate to the anti-doping policy.

The AFL said in a lengthy statement that it "welcomed" the SIA report. 

"SIA concluded that there are no irreconcilable inconsistencies between the AFL's illicit drugs policy and the national anti-doping scheme," the league said.

"The AFL also welcomes SIA's assessment that (it) 'found no evidence to suggest testing by the AFL or club doctors was in breach of the WADA code, or that injuries were feigned to cover up for positive drug testing during the week by the AFL or club doctors'.

"SIA also found that 'most players adhere to the AFL's illicit drugs policy and intervention model in good faith, however some players will and do find ways to get around the system, and while this is not ideal, no policy or process is without weaknesses'."

The AFL added the SIA recommendations would be considered as part of the League's current review of its Illicit Drugs Policy.