Infotainment Factory: AFL club bosses slam 'hypocritical' drugs policy

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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

AFL club bosses slam 'hypocritical' drugs policy


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Prominent presidents Jeff Kennett and Peter Gordon have renewed opposition to the AFL's controversial illicit drugs policy, saying clubs must have more involvement.

One of the AFL's thorniest issues is again in the headlines, with the Hawthorn president and his Western Bulldogs counterpart unhappy about where clubs stand in the code's implementation.

But Collingwood president Eddie McGuire sounded a more conciliatory note, saying the policy is helping more players than if it did not exist.

The code started in 2005 and is a voluntary agreement by the players with the AFL.

It is separate to the standard anti-doping policy.

The policy was revised in 2015, with tougher penalties and players named after their second strike, not the third.

But that has not placated club figures such as Kennett and Gordon.

"As president, I am still not informed about those who have had strikes -- and I find that to be totally hypocritical and self-defeating," Hawthorn's Kennett told the Herald Sun.

"If the AFL has a policy on drugs it should be enforceable and anyone who voluntarily puts their hand up to be a league player ... should be prepared for the consequences."

Jeff Kennett

Gordon said clubs have no say in the policy.

"This current illicit drugs policy is a deal cut between the AFL, as the regulator of the competition, and the AFLPA, as the players' union ... and the results of it are there for everyone to see," Gordon said.

"I have complained, both publicly and privately to the AFL commission, that it puts the clubs, as employers, in an invidious position."

McGuire called the issue "a vexed situation".

"The policy is helping more people than would be the situation if there wasn't voluntary testing by the players," he said.

"But if we can get to a position where we are able to look after this inside the club, that would be the best of all positions, but I think that would be an evolutionary position."

Prominent presidents Jeff Kennett and Peter Gordon have renewed opposition to the AFL's controversial illicit drugs policy, saying clubs must have more involvement.

One of the AFL's thorniest issues is again in the headlines, with the Hawthorn president and his Western Bulldogs counterpart unhappy about where clubs stand in the code's implementation.

But Collingwood president Eddie McGuire sounded a more conciliatory note, saying the policy is helping more players than if it did not exist.

The code started in 2005 and is a voluntary agreement by the players with the AFL.

It is separate to the standard anti-doping policy.

The policy was revised in 2015, with tougher penalties and players named after their second strike, not the third.

But that has not placated club figures such as Kennett and Gordon.

"As president, I am still not informed about those who have had strikes -- and I find that to be totally hypocritical and self-defeating," Hawthorn's Kennett told the Herald Sun.

"If the AFL has a policy on drugs it should be enforceable and anyone who voluntarily puts their hand up to be a league player ... should be prepared for the consequences."

Jeff Kennett

Gordon said clubs have no say in the policy.

"This current illicit drugs policy is a deal cut between the AFL, as the regulator of the competition, and the AFLPA, as the players' union ... and the results of it are there for everyone to see," Gordon said.

"I have complained, both publicly and privately to the AFL commission, that it puts the clubs, as employers, in an invidious position."

McGuire called the issue "a vexed situation".

"The policy is helping more people than would be the situation if there wasn't voluntary testing by the players," he said.

"But if we can get to a position where we are able to look after this inside the club, that would be the best of all positions, but I think that would be an evolutionary position."

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