AFL to tighten illicit drug use loophole

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    The AFL will tighten a loophole which has allowed some of the competition’s illicit drug users to dodge strikes.

    Under the existing three-strikes policy, players who dob themselves in must undergo counselling but don’t record a strike.

    That measure is aimed at encouraging players with a drug problem to seek help, in line with the policy’s design as a health and welfare model rather than a punitive system.

    But, after some players reportedly exploited it by confessing to drug use purely to avoid strikes for positive tests, the AFL’s working party on illicit drugs responded on Friday.

    “It was agreed that the so-called self-notification provisions should be tightened,” league chief executive Andrew Demetriou said.

    “Amendments will now be drafted for review by the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA) and the AFL before they are discussed at the next meeting of the working party.

    “We also had considerable discussion about how the policy framework can be strengthened to deal with a very small number of players who might disrespect the policy’s objectives and disregard how their off-field behaviour impacts on other players in the competition, their own club and the AFL itself.”

    Demetriou chairs the working party, which also includes AFLPA chief executive Matt Finnis, AFL medical officers and club representatives.

    One of those is Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert, whose publicly-voiced concerns about a growing illicit drug culture in the AFL led to a drugs summit in January and the formation of the working party.

    © AAP 2017
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