Melbourne, April 2 (IANS) The head of Australia’ s biggest sporting competition, the Australian Football League (AFL), has revealed that he and his key staff have agreed to be regularly tested for illicit drugs, following criticism of the code’s controversial drug-testing policy.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said on Friday the league’ s new, tougher testing regime would extended beyond the 700-odd players to every AFL employee, including himself, reports Xinhua.
“I’ve been drug tested,” McLachlan said on Melbourne radio on Friday. “All our management team is subject to the same policy.
“What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.”
On the eve of the first game of the season last week, the AFL was rocked by a media report that said the league’ s biggest club, Collingwood, had up to 11 of its players test positive for recreational drugs over the off-season.
Under the AFL’ s new illicit drug policy, updated at the end of last year, hair-tests conducted during the summer break were to be used purely for survey purposes with the results remaining confidential within AFL ranks.
However, Collingwood’ s data was leaked and published by News Corp just days before their season opener against Sydney – which they lost by 80 points – in what club president Eddie McGuire believed was a targeted act of sabotage as other clubs’ results remained secret.
McLachlan acknowledged the report took the gloss of an exciting opening round but reaffirmed the AFL’ s commitment to the new hardline stance on illicit drugs, which now results in players being banned for four games if they record two positive tests.
“Our policy has got tougher in the last 12 months. We have gone from three strikes to two,” he said.
“Our statistics are lower than in average society but it is still something we are confronting from head on.”
McLachlan said criticism that the policy, which operates outside of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) guidelines, had proved to be a failure was completely unwarranted.
“This concept that actually we’re soft on drugs is crazy because it’s the strongest illicit drug policy in world sport,” he said.
“I don’t think any policy we have will satisfy some people’ s insatiable demand for creating a story like this.”