View Full Version : NEWS: The Age 14 Jul 05: Captains back AFL on drug code

14-07-2005, 04:08
Captains back AFL on drug code

By Dan Oakes and Peter Blucher
July 14, 2005

St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt and his Brisbane Lions counterpart Michael Voss yesterday urged the AFL not to bow to pressure by signing the World Anti-Doping Agency accord.

Riewoldt cast doubt on whether the AFL Players Association would back any move by the AFL to sign the drug code while Voss said he would be "really disappointed" if the league reversed its stance.

After meetings between the AFL and WADA in New Zealand on Tuesday, WADA director-general David Howman said he believed the league, which stands to lose millions in government funding if it does not sign the accord, would become compliant within a week.

AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson said yesterday the league was keen to step into line on the drugs issue. "We want to become compliant with WADA, we're just in negotiations," he said on radio 3AW.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou played down the possibility of conflict with the players' association, saying that the league had kept it up to speed on the issue.

Although WADA and the AFL test for performance enhancers all year round, WADA tests for other illicit drugs in competition only while the AFL tests for them 44 weeks a year. Unlike WADA, the league advocates an educational rather than punitive approach if a player tests positive for drugs such as cannabis.

Voss, a former member of the players' association executive, said in The Sunday Age this month that any decision by the league to abandon that code would raise issues of "integrity, trust, commitment and the relationship between the AFL and the players' association".

Yesterday he said he would "lose a little bit of faith" if the AFL adopted the WADA code.

Voss does not agree with the WADA requirement to identify first offenders caught with illicit drugs in their system in preference to the AFL system, under which players get private counselling.

"I don't believe putting someone up on a pedestal and making an example of them through the media helps them rehabilitate from whatever problem they have," he said. "There are bigger issues than just trying to make an example out of someone - it's about trying to rehabilitate and help the person.

"The method the AFL has is very, very good from a player welfare point of view . . . let's see how it works for a little while and if it doesn't work, then change it back. I don't think the WADA code really suits a contact sport. It's established for competitions like Olympics, world championships and one-off events like that."

Riewoldt said the existing code was far more appropriate for the AFL. "I think it will be interesting to see whether, first of all, the AFL adopts the policy, because I think they'd probably have to talk to the AFLPA, because only six months ago they signed off on a new code, so I think that will have to happen first before anything is set in concrete," Riewoldt said.

"I think the policy we've got in place at the moment is really good, it's about education rather than the name and shame sort of approach that WADA adopts. I think across the board, most players would like to see the existing policy stay."

The players' association could not be contacted last night.

From: http://www.theage.com.au/realfooty/news/afl/captains-back-afl-on-drug-code/2005/07/13/1120934301817.htmlBigTrancer :)

14-07-2005, 04:19
If they change to the way the World Anti Doping want to run things a lot of players could end up in a lot of trouble in the off season ;)

The AFL approach fits the sport and the players the way things are done now. I hope they aren't forced to make radical changes just because of financial pressure.

19-07-2005, 10:31
AFL signs drugs code
July 19, 2005

THE AFL has agreed to comply with the world anti-doping agency (WADA) drug code, in a backdown from its earlier stance.


Reaction ... Demetriou's decision will not please everyone. Pic: Sal George

AFL chief executive officer Andrew Demetriou informed Federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp of the league's intention at a meeting in Melbourne today, a spokesman for Senator Kemp said.

The AFL had agreed to become compliant with the WADA code by November 1, he said.

The AFL had been the only sporting body in Australia which had refused to sign up to the code, which was set to cost it about $1 million in Federal Government funding.

"The Minister is very pleased that they will become WADA compliant," the spokesman said.

The league held talks with the Australian Sports Commission last week, however, at which the ASC indicated it would reinstate $2 million in funding when the AFL became WADA compliant.

The main sticking point for the AFL was over sanctions for non-performance enhancing drugs, such as cannabis.

Under the AFL's current drugs code, players receive confidential counselling for first and second offences.

Under the WADA code, they will receive heavier penalties for testing positive to illicit drugs on match-days.

WADA chief Dick Pound lambasted the code last week for its failure to comply.
"The AFL has had their head in the sand over this and part of the deal in sport is you don't take drugs," Pound said.

But his comments came as Brisbane captain Michael Voss and St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt turned up the heat on the league not to bow to pressure and sign the accord.

"I'd lose a little bit of faith if they decided to go against whatever they already have in place," said Voss, who sits on the executive of the AFL Players' Association.

"What people don't realise is it's pretty stringent, the actual rules."

AFLPA chief executive Brendon Gale agreed.

"It's not about naming and shaming under our code," he said last week.

"We have sought the finest medical advice on alcohol and drugs and we haven't spoken to bureaucrats or sports administrators."

Popund, though, hit back, saying: "You can't hide behind privacy fearing you may get found out when you're a high-profile athlete."


From Fox Sports (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,15979676-23211,00.html)

Cheshire Cat ^..^
19-07-2005, 12:57
Does it say anywhere in breif what's the difference between WADA policy and AFL policy?

19-07-2005, 17:12
I think basically the AFL tests more frequently than the WADA code requires during the season, but does not do any testing in the off-season. WADA stipulates that random tests must be done over the entire year, whether in-season or not. WADA also has a policy of making any positive tests public immediately, whereas the AFL has a three stage approach where first the player is warned privately, then the coach and club doctors are told on a second offence, and then their name is made public on a third offence.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong though, cos I'm going totally off my memory here.

19-07-2005, 22:27
Basically, under pressure from the Federal Government, the AFL has had to give up a process that aims to address non-performance enhancing drug use as a health/player welfare issue and replaced that with a punitive approach.

It's a victory for zero tolerance over harm minimisation.

Drugs anger

By Karen Lyon
July 20, 2005

An AFL player who tests positive to marijuana will face bans of up to a year for a first offence from November after the AFL was forced to abandon its own drug code yesterday.

In an embarrassing backdown, the AFL succumbed to intense pressure from the Federal Government and agreed to comply with the hardline stance laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which demands the public naming of all offenders and harsh penalties in the case of recreational drug use.

Under the threat of losing federal funding for all levels of the game if it did not comply with the WADA code, and conscious of the negative perception that was growing around its stance, AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou yesterday informed federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp of the league's intention to comply with the WADA code by November 1.

At yesterday's announcement of the decision, an angry Demetriou barely spoke, only confirming the AFL's new stance before leaving and refusing to answer questions.

Last night, Brisbane Lions captain Michael Voss, a member of the AFL Players Association executive when the drug code was negotiated with the league, said players would be angry about the AFL U-turn.

"It would want to be a very good reason because at face value, there isn't a player in the game who can be happy with what has happened," he said. "Sitting up here in sunny Queensland, it's hard to know exactly and precisely what has happened, but I'll be very interested to know what the AFL's line of thinking is."

While the AFL is expected to start meeting with its clubs and other stakeholders next week, it will hold talks with the players' association later today.

Although the AFLPA understands the league had little choice but to accept the WADA code, it is believed the association has grave concerns about how the new system will work and the consequences for its members.

Last night, the association released a statement, saying it was not surprised by yesterday's developments, "given the significant political and financial pressures which have been focused on the AFL in recent times".

"The AFLPA maintains some concerns with aspects of the WADA code which are shared by a number of independent legal, medical and health professionals and academics," it said.

"The AFLPA hopes that some of these legitimate concerns can be addressed in amending the current doping policy."

Earlier this week, Demetriou said the AFL wanted to maintain its 44-week out-of-competition testing for illicit drugs, something not demanded by WADA.

The WADA code is only applied to match-day testing and sets up a situation in which there will be different penalties for the same offence depending on the day the player is tested.

The AFL decision is a big win for the Government, which has now achieved its stated aim of bringing all sporting bodies in Australia into line with the WADA.

"The AFL now joins all major sporting codes in Australia in becoming WADA code-compliant," Kemp said. "Australia has been acknowledged as world leaders in fighting drugs in sport and will continue to pursue a sporting environment in which athletes are able to compete fairly."

With the AFL keen to gain more financial funding from the Federal Government in coming years, and with almost $2 million of current funding — about $585,000 to the AFL and around $1.3 million to state and other leagues — on the line, the AFL yesterday only reluctantly released a short statement from its chief executive.

"The AFL has today told the Federal Government it will be WADA compliant by November 1, 2005," he said.

- with Peter Blucher

From The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/realfooty/news/afl/taking-the-high-ground/2005/07/19/1121538978923.html)

26-07-2005, 11:20
Saw this in the paper on Saturday, only found the online version today. Well worth a read.

Cannabis scrutiny excessive
By Tim Lane
July 23, 2005

Amid the whole hue and cry about the AFL and the WADA code, one essential question remains unanswered: why is cannabis, a non-performance-enhancing substance, on the banned list?

Dick Pound, the WADA chairman, could do no better than: "Part of the deal in sport is you don't take drugs." Federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp, from many opportunities, has shed even less light on the matter.

One journalist who has been critical of the AFL on the issue was asked the question directly on radio. He could merely respond with: "You'd have to ask WADA."

We are back where we started. If it were not serious, it would be funny. Sportspeople are being singled out for scrutiny that neither you nor I would have to tolerate, yet this scrutiny has nothing at all to do with cheating at sport.

Under the camouflage of testing for performance-enhancing drugs, footballers and other sportspeople are being subjected to an unconscionable invasion of privacy.

What's more, they have now found themselves vilified for caring about it. They are cast as villains. They must be junkies. It's unimaginable that they are simply responsible young people who want to protect their personal rights.

Perhaps they are even bigger than that. Perhaps they see a world in which civil liberties are being challenged and they identify their own circumstance as potentially, and very conspicuously, at the thin end of a dangerous wedge. Football, as we are frequently reminded, can have great influence in the community. It can be used insidiously as well as for good.

That the players have become the bad guys for resisting what has been imposed on them is wrong. Senior sports administrators should be capable of understanding that. Senior politicians, too, but let's live in the real world.

A footballer who returns one positive test to marijuana will now find himself all over the pages of the paper and could be disqualified for a year. A second positive test and he is out for two years. A third and it's game over. His career is finished. How Shane Warne's long-tormented opponents must wish sport's new paternalism extended to adultery.

Like Warne's misdemeanours, the taking of marijuana is not recommended and may pose damaging consequences, but it ought to have nothing whatever to do with one's eligibility to play competitive sport.

Yes, it is against the law in this state, but so is driving a car above 60 km/h in a metropolitan zone and the latter is these days pursued far more rigorously by the authorities. Besides, it is for those authorities to police such matters, not for sports administrators. WADA's province is the globe and in some countries the use of cannabis is perfectly legal.

The reality is that WADA is wrong and hopefully it will soon wake up to that fact. Its banned list is not carved in stone. The Federal Government is also wrong in holding a gun to football's head as it clearly has done.

A government that has felt no responsibility to heed the view of the United Nations on the matter of going to war in Iraq, or to ratify an international agreement like the Kyoto Protocol, has apparently felt obliged to bludgeon its way to unequivocal observance of the WADA code. Either that or football has been touched by the Howard Government's rigidly conservative ideology on the problems of illicit drugs.

As for the AFL, it has paid a heavy price for trying to craft a code that treated breaches on their merits. It has been belittled, bullied and, for the moment at least, beaten. In opting for counselling as a first response to a positive test, it had sought to find middle ground on the matter of cannabis.

This week's outcome suggests that was its only hope of satisfying WADA and the government, despite the fact that any screening for the substance remains a debatable issue. Its intended out-of-competition testing procedure is perhaps well intended but fraught with problems for it and its players. In that area it could learn from WADA.

This bitter experience might also have been a learning experience on another front for Andrew Demetriou.

His much-reported Australia Day address on immigration obviously ruffled feathers on high perches in Canberra. While it's doubtful it affected an intransigent government's view of the WADA code, Demetriou had delivered a cheeky backhander and was now standing, wide open, under a hospital handpass. They did not miss him.

From The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/realfooty/news/columnists/cannabis-scrutiny-excessive/2005/07/22/1121539143663.html)

26-07-2005, 14:54
"A government that has felt no responsibility to heed the view of the United Nations on the matter of going to war in Iraq, or to ratify an international agreement like the Kyoto Protocol, has apparently felt obliged to bludgeon its way to unequivocal observance of the WADA code. Either that or football has been touched by the Howard Government's rigidly conservative ideology on the problems of illicit drugs."

Thats golden. Really puts things in perspective.

26-07-2005, 20:14
Golden is an understatement. That's diamond!

Written by Tim Lane eh? The same Tim Lane of Channel 10 and ABC radio's commentary team I wonder?

09-03-2006, 21:47
Footy drugs testing finds 15 under the influence
By Michael Gleeson
March 10, 2006

At least 15 AFL players have recorded positive tests for recreational drugs after less than a year of the league's new testing regime.

One player has been confirmed to have returned two positive readings under the tests, which cover drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines and marijuana.

The second positive reading leaves the player one step from a "third strike" and being publicly exposed and suspended under the Australian Sports Drug Agency's out-of-competition testing system.

AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson would not comment on the specific number of positive tests, but said yesterday the league had more than doubled the number of tests last year, which led to more positive results.

Players were told of the figure in a confronting presentation on illicit drugs by ASDA, the Victoria Police, club doctors and the AFL medical commissioners during the pre-season.

"It was pretty full on, so I suppose it was a bit of a reality check. I think everyone was pretty surprised to hear the 15 figure," said one player, who asked not to be named. The figure is believed to not have been a full-year result and consequently the number of positive tests could be higher. But players were advised that about 15 positive results had been returned in 2005.

Concerned at anecdotal reports of the incidence of illicit drug use, the AFL last year changed its regime to introduce a more targeted approach to testing for recreational drugs. It is understood about 400 tests were carried out by the ASDA last year. Part of the intention of the illicit drug talk this year was evidently to shock players into understanding both the extent of drug use and the health and welfare dangers.

"Under the AFL's illicit drugs policy we are testing more, we are testing at more high-risk times such as at recovery sessions, and with that we will catch more people if they are doing drugs," Mr Anderson said.

"We have more than doubled our testing for stimulants and deliberately targeted high-risk times, and if people take drugs they are at serious risk of being caught.

"ASDA say we have the most extensive illicit drugs testing regime of any sport in the country and so the likelihood is if you take drugs you will be caught."

AFL players are tested under two systems, ASDA and WADA. ASDA rules apply for out-of-competition (or non-match-day testing) and a player is given three strikes. On a third positive test he is publicly identified and faces suspension.

Under the WADA in-competition or match-day testing a player is summarily suspended for two years for any positive test.

From The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/realfooty/news/afl/afl-testing-finds-15-under-the-influence/2006/03/09/1141701634085.html)

10-03-2006, 00:51
Only 15? I wonder how many players they tested, I would have thought the number would have been higher in the off season.

10-03-2006, 01:37
They're probably all onto new phenethylamines and tryptamines that aren't as yet tested for, sourced from the same people peddling the non-screenable performance enhancing compounds ;)

There must be enormous money (as in a massive market) in supplying "invisible" drugs to people on typical player salaries.

10-03-2006, 23:28
Star fails drug test twice
By Jim Wilson and Damian Barrett
March 11, 2006

A HIGH-PROFILE player from a non-Victorian AFL club has twice tested positive for illegal drugs.

The player, whom Mews Limited newspapers have chosen not to name, is believed to have returned two positive samples for illicit drugs, including cocaine and ecstasy.

Under the AFL's out-of-competition drug code, the player's name is kept secret from club executives and the AFL until a third offence is recorded.

AFL drug testers clearly focused on certain players during their 2005 program of 472 tests.

One player was tested four times and seven players three times; 64 players were tested twice.

Of the tests, 336 were done out of competition and 136 during the season.

The AFL's illicit drugs policy covers out-of-competition testing; testing during competition falls under World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines.

In 2004, 17 positive tests were recorded, and the AFL said yesterday that the number of positive drug tests last year did not exceed this. In 2003, 14 players tested positive.

AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson said the illicit drugs policy, introduced last year, went further than WADA regulations. He said that none of the players who tested positive in 2005 would have been caught under WADA's code.

"We are testing more for stimulants, we are testing more at high-risk times when players might be taking drugs, and the reality is that while players faced a far higher chance of getting caught, the numbers of positive tests has not changed," Mr Anderson said.

AFL players who test positive must enter an approved confidential treatment, education and rehabilitation program.

For both the first two positive out-of-competition tests, the AFL's medical officer is obliged to inform only the player's club medical officer. Third and subsequent offences will result in a charge of conduct unbecoming, carrying a maximum 12-week suspension.

But a player might escape penalty.

Penalties under WADA guidelines are significantly greater: a one-year ban is available as a sanction for a first offence.

A second offence could result in a two-year ban and a third a life ban.

Last night, the Federal Government praised the AFL for its testing.

"Any move to stamp out drugs in sport and continue Australia's strong anti-doping policy is welcomed by the Government," Sports Minister Rod Kemp said.

WADA officials, in Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games, said it was the AFL's call on what penalty to impose on players out of competition.

"We liken it to conduct-testing more than anything else," WADA executive David Howman said.

"But the AFL is doing something, and there are a lot of tests."

The AFL was the last major Australian sport to sign the WADA code, after intense pressure from the Federal Government.

The Australian Sports Commission had threatened to slash funding.

Western Bulldogs captain Luke Darcy said yesterday the positive tests were disappointing.

"But I'd be interested to know if it (the number of positive results) was any more than (for) 18 to 30-year-olds in general," he said. "If it was 100 per cent more than your normal 18-to-30-year-old group, then it would be more of a concern. It's an issue in society more than it was 30 years ago.

"It's a snapshot of a demographic, and I think it would be the same for plumbers, lawyers and carpenters."

From Fox Sports (http://foxsports.news.com.au/story/0,8659,18422613-23211,00.html)

10-03-2006, 23:30
Looking for substance as drugs take hold
By Mike Sheahan
11 Mar 2006

ANDREW Demetriou and David Howman took coffee and sandwiches yesterday.

The AFL chief executive and the World Anti-Doping Agency's director-general spent more than an hour together at AFL headquarters.

Given they met on the day it was revealed 16 AFL players had tested positive to illicit substances last year, it sounds like a meeting of huge significance.

Coincidence, not significance, Demetriou said last night. "It's been in my diary for months," he said.

"We did chat about the results and we also spoke in general about drug programs. I found it very productive."

Demetriou played down the significance of the results, saying the AFL had tripled the number of tests last year.

As I understand it, 16 players tested positive to illegal drugs, one fewer than the corresponding figure for the 12 months to September, 2004. The breakdown of the 2004 figure was cannabis (marijuana) 14, other illicit drugs three.

The mix changed last year, with cocaine and ecstasy responsible for a much larger share of the 16 breaches. Yet more evidence of an emerging drug culture in football, as foreshadowed by prominent player manager Ricky Nixon more than six years ago.

Nixon's warning, made to AFL officials and club heavyweights at a workshop at Cape Schanck, raised cocaine abuse as a concern in football for the first time.

He said abuse of what were then known as recreational drugs, now more appropriately referred to as illicit drugs, was "a big issue".

Three years later, the Herald Sun incurred the wrath of the AFL for a special based on a similar warning by another prominent player manager, Craig Kelly, accompanied by damning comments from former Sydney Swan Dale Lewis.

More recently, we went to the AFL on rumours of an impending revelation of drug abuse at alarming levels.

"No alarm bells," we were told.

Nixon could not be reached yesterday, but Kelly said: "I think, on the whole, everyone's pretty responsible.

"If you're contracted, if it's in season, and you're doing drugs, you're just an idiot.

"Apart from the legal side of it, they sign an agreement (with their club) that has a set of rules that need to be upheld and respected."

While the authorities rightly point to the fact the breaches average out at one per club for 12 months, the anecdotal evidence continues to suggest a growing problem.

The authorities also say none of the breaches involve performance-enhancing substances.

Several players from two of the most powerful clubs in the competition continue to be linked with drug use, as do two high-profile players at one Victorian club.

The rumours centre on cocaine and ecstasy.

Players at most, if not all clubs were briefed on the latest figures at special sessions during the off-season.

While the information is supposed to remain confidential, only the names were kept secret in an attempt to hammer the message home.

After Nixon issued his warning all those years ago, then AFL chief executive Wayne Jackson said: "As a result of the conference, we will be expanding (the drug awareness and testing programs) to include other social drugs including cocaine."

Expand they might, but the problem isn't going away.

From The Advertiser (http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,18420355%255E23211,00.html)

14-03-2006, 02:56
Marijuana tests confirm AFL concern
By Jake Niall, Caroline Wilson and Michael Gleeson
March 14, 2006

A DISPROPORTIONATE number of indigenous players have tested positive to marijuana under the AFL's out-of-competition testing regime, heightening AFL concern about the impact of the new World Anti-Doping Agency drug code on Aboriginal players.

Sources have confirmed to The Age that the out-of-competition testing program has shown that Aboriginal players made up an extremely high percentage of positive tests to marijuana, the most widespread illicit drug.

There are 55 indigenous footballers on AFL lists in 2006 — about 8 per cent of all AFL players — and a much greater number of its stars, but The Age understands that indigenous players compromise several times that percentage — about 50 per cent in 2004 and close to 75 per cent in 2005 — of the positive tests to marijuana. The tests were all out of competition.

There is concern in club circles at the overwhelming proportion of positive tests involving indigenous players, a trend that has prompted senior club officials to alert the AFL of the problem. The AFL is already understood to have responded to club concerns and is already looking at establishing appropriate counselling services.

Cannabis accounts for the majority of the AFL's out of competition positive tests.

The AFL fought hard — and unsuccessfully — against the Federal Government's demand that it adopt the WADA drug code, on the grounds that as a non-performance-enhancing drug, cannabis should not carry such heavy penalties for positive tests in competition.

The positive tests to illicit drugs thus far — at least 15 players in 2005 — were all out of competition. Three players from non-Victorian clubs, including a premiership player, have recorded two positive tests to illicit drugs. A third positive test would force the player to face the tribunal.

The revelation of the disproportionate figures for indigenous players could create an image problem for the AFL, which has worked hard against racism and whose racial vilification rules were groundbreaking in Australian sport in the mid- 1990s.

The AFL has also placed great emphasis on development of indigenous players at grass roots level across Australia, viewing Aboriginal football as a significant source of talent and spectator appeal.

Marijuana poses a major problem for the league, too, because, unlike cocaine and ecstasy and amphetamines, the drugs stays within the user's system for several weeks. This makes it difficult to ascertain whether a test is in or out of competition.

The marijuana clause of the new AFL drug code was also strongly resisted by the players association, which continue to protest that such a test is a breach of the player's civil liberties.

The AFL could not be reached for comment last night.

Last Friday, The Age revealed that at least 15 players had tested positive to illicit drugs, with at least one player on the verge of a third strike, which would have led to them facing the tribunal and a potential ban.

A prominent player manager said yesterday he would press the AFL for a drug summit to reconsider the validity of tandem drug testing codes and evaluate if the current system is the most effective method of preventing drug use among players. Many player managers and clubs are troubled at the testing of players for drugs that are not performance enhancing.

From The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/realfooty/news/afl/marijuana-tests-confirm-afl-concern/2006/03/13/1142098405259.html)

When a player tests positive the third time, and it won't be long looking at the statistics released about the testing results over the last few days, this has the potential to backfire on the AFL.

Some poor bastard is going to be outed to the media and his club, his reputation sullied and possibly have his career destroyed over a cannabis habit which most likely has little to no effect on his potential as a player.

Maybe then we might see some influential people in the game stand up and call for the WADA drug code to be dropped from the AFL.

15-03-2006, 06:06
It's fairly appalling that a player be taken to task for non-performance enhancing substance use. I saw a presentation a few years back on drugs in sport - the presenter mentioned a snow boarder who was stripped of the world title after testing positive to cannabis use, then getting it reinstated after successfully arguing that cannabis isn't performance enhancing.
According to the government's own advertising campaign (yeah I know - federal not state), you can't even play football if you smoke pot!! If some AFL players enjoy a few billies or a pill or two in their downtime, I'd say that's no-one's business but theirs.

15-03-2006, 09:42
If they start ruining footy players careers for a spliff in the off season that is just plain rediculous.

15-03-2006, 17:21
I agree it seems a bit harsh, but hey nearly ever other major sporting athlete also get tested for rec drugs and can be banned for there use, why should AFL players be treated any different??? just because there is a big culture of drug use around footy clubs (rec drugs) both with AFL teams and local clubs I don't see why they should be exempt from it if other sportspersons arn't given a break to have some drugs and get baned, named and shamed....

They get paid the big bucks to play sport professionally then I think they should be able to accept that there are certain things they can and can not do, like taking illegal drugs... Responsibility has to been taken at some stage.

aunty establishment
15-03-2006, 19:03
I agree it seems a bit harsh, but hey nearly ever other major sporting athlete also get tested for rec drugs and can be banned for there use, why should AFL players be treated any different???
Let me pose a question to your question. If you took a few months' leave from your job, then midway through the break, your boss rocked up and demanded you sit a drug test, how would you feel? My response would be "not so great about going back to work", personally.

I have had a few mates over the years who were/are AFL champions, including a couple at the absolute top of their game, who enjoyed nothing more than celebrating their season's performance with a good old fashioned bender. The rest of the year, they were really well-behaved, hardworking guys.

Just a perspective. If the media stopped reporting on these incidents, there would be no "sports drugs scandals" - another perspective - because people wouldn't know about them. But that's a debate for another thread, LOL =D

15-03-2006, 22:12
Bell flags rebellion over drugs leak
By Michael Gleeson
March 16, 2006

AFL players would withdraw from voluntary out-of-competition drugs testing in disgust at the clumsy handling of the testing system, players' union president Peter Bell foreshadowed yesterday.

The Fremantle captain said that scrapping out-of-competition testing was a "very real threat" and that the present system would be likely to survive only as long as it took to convene a meeting of the AFL Players Association executive.

"Definitely (scrapping the testing immediately) is a very real and very live threat," Bell said. "We are very much dictated by what our members say, what our players say and I know there are a lot of players who are very disappointed and they will make their feelings known.

"We as an executive will have to sit down together and work out what is the best course of action and that is one of our options."

Asked if the policy would be likely to last only as long as the next executive meeting, Bell replied "Yes." That meeting will be convened as soon as possible.

Asked if the drug code was working, Bell bluntly replied "No. Confidentiality should be respected."

He said players felt betrayed and disappointed that the anonymity of players until they recorded a third positive test had not been preserved and that the identity of three players who had recorded two positive results to drugs was known in the media.

"It is very disappointing and it has brought into question the integrity of the system," Bell said.

All captains at an AFL season launch yesterday said they were disappointed at the breach of confidentiality and many had lost confidence in the drug-testing system.

Some felt duped for volunteering for a testing regime supplementary to the WADA match-day testing on certain conditions that were then not met.

"We haven't made a decision to scrap the drug code, but it is fair to say that … if confidentiality can't be guaranteed, then the integrity of the system is at question and it is clearly flawed," Bell said.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou met the head of the Australian Anti-Doping Agency yesterday and told the AFL captains he was confident of rooting out the source of the leak.

Bell said that supplementary testing to the WADA match-day testing was not necessary but players felt it was a better system as its primary aim was to rehabilitate before punishing, but now they felt betrayed.

Essendon captain Matthew Lloyd said that while he was troubled by the breach of confidentiality, he also struggled to have sympathy for those players who repeatedly tested positive to drugs. "I don't feel too sorry for guys because they see the risks and they are illegal drugs," Lloyd said.

Kangaroos captain Adam Simpson said drugs were a bigger issue out of competition than in competition.

"If it collapses, it's just going to be open slather, I suppose," Simpson lamented.

Hawthorn captain Richie Vandenberg was uncertain whether scrapping the testing was the answer, saying that while the AFL had much work to do to repair players' lost trust, the drugs issue, like racial vilification, was an opportunity to lead the community and not be shamed.

"The whole issue of the code was that we wanted to help people — we didn't want to hang and quarter people," he said.

Adelaide coach Neil Craig last night said it was of serious concern that people were making allegations of leaking information on AFL players taking drugs.

"I am not sure whether that is factual information," he said. "Now that drug testing is a part of our sport we are going to have to get used to the innuendo.

"Until someone can actually say these are the facts, from my point of view it's wise not to comment on it."

Craig said, in general, Adelaide would say yes to clubs being told which players were taking illicit drugs because it was a matter of duty of care.

"The whole area of drug testing requires co-operation from all parties," he said. "There is a huge responsibility in terms of confidentiality."


From The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/realfooty/news/afl/bell-flags-rebellion-over-drugs-leak/2006/03/15/1142098529539.html)

15-03-2006, 22:13
The captains' views on drugs
March 16, 2006

"The players wanted to have the policy from a health aspect. We're setting an example doing the right thing."

MICHAEL VOSS, Brisbane Lions
"Because I'm very aware of what the AFL's trying to achieve with it and how important they hold it, I can't see why they would have any vested interest in going against what has been already done … that would make no sense to me at all, from the AFL's perspective I have not lost any faith in them at all."

"I think the players understand how serious it is to take drugs … It's a pretty important thing as role models as footballers that you know it shouldn't be happening."

"The crux of the matter isn't whether it should test or not, the crux of the matter is, is it too much of a risk that the information gets out."

"I don't follow it because of the way I am and my thoughts on drugs, so I put my trust in Belly (Peter Bell) and the AFLPA. But at the same time I don't feel too sorry for guys because they see the risks and they are illegal drugs. You don't want the public thinking we are soft on drugs or we are all on drugs if we pull out of testing."

"The process and structures in place are there to help rehabilitate players and not to throw them out on their own … I think it's a good idea to rehabilitate instead of just throwing them to the lions."

"Was it the role of the AFL to stamp out racial vilification? And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. The AFL have been leaders in that, and to a certain extent they feel on the issue of drugs that can be a similar result."

"I think WADA will struggle to catch many people out during the season because it's an off-season issue. If this whole thing collapses because of what's happened it would be really disappointing."

DAVID NEITZ, Melbourne
"There's incidents of depression and all sorts of things in AFL football and other stresses, and it's always something that leads to people, especially repeat offenders, taking drugs. The threat of the confidentiality being broken is really disappointing and unfortunately may effect drug policy."

"I think while we're at the football club and training they should be testing for drugs but I don't think they should be testing while you're on holiday — not for the fact you could be taking drugs, I just don't think they should be invading your space."

"We should be well within our rights to say no, we don't want to be tested for that stuff any more … the confidentiality's got to be the main aspect of it."

CHAD CORNES, Port Adelaide
"I've got confidence in it except that the confidentiality part of it would be my only concern."

"That's why it's confidential, so we can help the player and not embarrass him and stuff like that … we've just got to fix up that confidentiality bit."

LUKE DARCY, Western Bulldogs
"I think it was the right thing and it's the strongest drug policy of any sport in the world when you combine with WADA. But no I haven't got confidence in doing a drug test and making sure the following week it was going to be confidential."

CHRIS JUDD, West Coast
"If you said to me 'is the drug problem in football less than the drug problem in the community? I'd put my house on the fact it was."

Compiled by Michael Gleeson, Jake Niall, Rohan Connolly and Reko Rennie

From The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/realfooty/news/afl/the-captains-views-on-drugs/2006/03/15/1142098529545.html)

16-03-2006, 10:03
Let me pose a question to your question. If you took a few months' leave from your job, then midway through the break, your boss rocked up and demanded you sit a drug test, how would you feel? My response would be "not so great about going back to work", personally.

I have had a few mates over the years who were/are AFL champions, including a couple at the absolute top of their game, who enjoyed nothing more than celebrating their season's performance with a good old fashioned bender. The rest of the year, they were really well-behaved, hardworking guys.

I work for myself and I would prob fail the drug test is I gave myself one ;) :D But hey if it was in my contract with work that drug testing could happen at any time then I would have to deal with it and not take drugs (if I wanted to keep the job and if I was paid the money some AFL stars get I could deal with it), or just find another job.

But I understand your point but I carn't see why should footballers be allowed to escape drug testing in the off season when all other top athletes whose sport bodies has signed up for this WADA drug policy are not allowed to do so (these sportspeople are just as hardworking if not more so and get 1/50th of the media accolation). A line has to be drawn in the sand somewhere and if it is drug testing all year round then so be it, but aslong as it is fair for every sportsperson. I just carn't see why an AFL player should be trested any different than anyone else. I know a couple of the current crop of AFL players and know what a few of them get upto on the town and so on, it isn't just a bender or two on the offseason ;)

20-03-2006, 23:05
Swan questions drug testing
By Adam Cooper
21 Mar 2006

SYDNEY premiership player Jared Crouch has launched an attack on the AFL's drug-testing program and said he was now reluctant to be tested for illegal drugs.

In an indication of the growing mistrust in the confidentiality aspect of the league's out-of-competition drug testing program, Crouch said it was an "absolute disgrace" that the identities of three players, who had twice tested positive to drugs, was leaked to the media.

"You're entitled to your privacy and it's an absolute disgrace that whoever's leaked these names out disrespects us so much that they're willing to do that," said Crouch, a 182-game veteran.

He backed the recent claims of AFL Players' Association chief executive Brendon Gale that players would not want to be tested because their privacy could not be guaranteed.

"In the back of my mind I'm going to be (thinking) `Is this all fair dinkum?'," Crouch said.

Players, the league and the AFLPA are all fuming over the breach of confidentiality which led to the names of three players – all based at clubs outside Victoria and one a premiership player – being leaked to the media.

The AFL has asked Australian Federal Police and the Federal Privacy Commissioner to investigate how testing conducted by the Australian Sports Drug Agency became public.

The league believes the leak could undermine its fight against illicit drugs, while the players fear a lack of privacy in future testing. Under the policy, players who test positive to drugs three times can be named publicly.

The identity of the three unnamed players could be revealed later this week if the Victorian Supreme Court rules in favour of newspapers seeking to publish their names.

Last week the court granted a week-long injunction preventing and newspapers publishing the names, but the matter is scheduled to come up again tomorrow.

From The Advertiser (http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,18546635%255E23211,00.html)

21-03-2006, 03:48
I'm playing the devils advocate again, but hey, its all about accountability isn't it?

Perhaps all drug testing results should be made public? That means results from work place, road side & criminal analysis, hospital admission blood tests, sports participant screens, health worker and armed services personnel related tests, and most important of all, results of public servant drug testing. Oh, and while we're at it, we might as well add results of hair analysis tests that some parents require of their kids. In short, why not make drug testing compulsory in every profession, educational institute and sports centre? Surely the system needs to be uniform and across the board?

The expected outcome?

For a start it might have some limited degree of deterrent value. But the real impact would be largely one that stems from the public realization of just how many "people" - as opposed to statistical numbers - really do opt to take recreational drugs. More than just about anything else I could think of, that realization - and inevitable acceptance - would IMO be likely to have a powerful influence on changing the unachievable aims of our present drug policies.

And what of the undetectable drugs I previously joked about? They are here now, maybe not all that common, but it does mean that some "smarter" players undoubtedly slip through the nets, making the fairness of the system to be sadly lacking. So perhaps all workplace/sports etc drug testing should be GC/MS based, which will require both a urine and a blood sample - just so nothing is missed. It may seem like its taking things a bit too far, but can you imagine how the notion of saliva or urine testing would have gone down in the 50's and 60's?

Of course, drug taking amongst sports people is nothing new. I knew of VFL players in the early eighties who smoked cannabis throughout the off season, although these guys were firmly dedicated to the game otherwise, and never smoked during the playing season. These guys even went without sex when it was requested/ demanded by the coach 8o How much more dedicated can one be?

As many people on this board know, there are many other industries and professions where drug testing is employed, and yet workers can often get around the rules. I met a guy last weekend who has worked for a major airline company for well over 10 years. He said the only ones who ever got in trouble were those who tried to take drugs on flight. Fair enough. Yet the company has an extensive drug policy, meaning that employees are not supposed to take drugs at all. I guess, to a degree its a performance related thing, but there obviously aren't many random tests done. As my friend stated, if testing was common, there would be a lot of out of work people - or would there? Perhaps within the pages of these specific policies, lies a realistic paragraph or 2; a carefully worded clause that actually makes "provision" for a degree of drug use among its employees? Do a search on the this board, and you may find that very clause.

So in the end, if all results were to be published, it eventually becomes the fairness of the system that's scrutinized. Publicity might be considered a bad thing for these players, but if they believe their drug use is non-problematic, perhaps they could instead take the bold move of standing up for what they believe in. If enough people actually did this - instead of that considered more prudent; being silenced in order to preserve future prospects - then maybe the outcome may mean they stay heros after-all. They might find they had played a significant role in instrumenting change. Change that sees a future where drug testing is largely limited to "intoxication only" screening, as opposed to digging through an individual's complete history & prying into what one gets up to on the weekends.

21-03-2006, 04:12
Of course, drug taking amongst sports people is nothing new. I knew of VFL players in the early eighties who smoked cannabis throughout the off season, although these guys were firmly dedicated to the game otherwise, and never smoked during the playing season. These guys even went without sex when it was requested/ demanded by the coach 8o How much more dedicated can one be?

I don't know.. would stoners rather go without weed or sex? ;)

21-03-2006, 05:04
PD - I take your point. I was talking to someone a while ago who turned out to be in the armed forces. I said "What???? How do you get away with your extensive drug taking?" He just said that if the drug testing was really random, there would be no armed forces ;) They always get a heads-up when a test is coming around.

But I think that the stigma attached to illicit drug use is too high to expect that outing more people would lead to a change in attitudes for the better. It could even backfire.

I would have liked to have seen some support for the AFL from our drug user organisations, but I can understand why they are keeping stumm - funding is at risk! Frankly, the whole country is under such a conservative pall at the moment that it's hard for me to even think about these things without getting angry and depressed :(

21-03-2006, 08:53
But I think that the stigma attached to illicit drug use is too high to expect that outing more people would lead to a change in attitudes for the better. It could even backfire.

That's always a real possibility ayjay, but policy wise, I consider the current situation to have been largely arrived at through the orchestrated suppression of information. At present - through both subtle and direct means - much is done in order to silence anything or anyone seen to be supporting or encouraging drug use. This has cleverly resulted in the common "non-admittance" stance as held by much of the drug taking community - at least for anyone with anything to lose. In the eyes of the blinker wearing public, this leaves the "hard cases", adverse reports, and biased media articles as the only information available by which to form an opinion. Had it not been for the internet, we would probably be further down the road towards harsher laws, as most people would never normally see or hear anything positive about rec drug use.

As it presently stands, there is little control over internet drug information, so through this medium, there might still be a chance to properly educate the public, and thereby eventually develop fairer and safer drug laws. As I've said before, we do need to reduce the demand for illicit drugs, but suppression and arrogance will never achieve it. All that does is make room for the next wave of criminals, ready to exploit inadequacies in legislation by coming up with new tactics such as employing new substances and developing foolproof methods by which to obtain the chemicals to make them. The illicit drug plague will thereby continue to be reinvented.

The thing is, sports mad Australians love their heros. Would they turn against the popular iconic role models if these players admitted to drug use? Some people would, but I'd be willing to bet that the majority of the sport addicted public would find it in their hearts to forgive and eventually accept. The alternative - to "turn away" from their favourite sporting teams/heros - would be the equivalent of "sacrilegious cold turkey", something I believe most sports lovers couldn't bear to think of.

Of course, that's not to say the government would sit quietly through any of this, but if the call was loud enough, and enough people of profile were honest about their drug use, then the public pressure would eventually demand change.

Why is it that such a high percentage of the population currently oppose drug reform? After all, most of the public haven't been adversely affected by drugs at all, not to mention those who regularly take drugs without consequence. If the figures were given some degree of human association, then the consumers of the ~ million MDMA pills, countless kilos of meth, and pounds of dope consumed every week in this country would have a face - a face of the average Australian, and that by itself would reveal the true facts e.g most rec drug users aren't ruined by an occasional night out (of it). Have we ever seen these figures presented on TV? Very rarely, and usually only then in relation to scare stories - often with an inference of the horrors that could occur if ever a desperate drug user ever gets a hold of you.

It's not hard to see that some facts are not presented or even allowed by the powers that be. If they were, the public would naturally see the vilification of drug users as being against the very fabric of Australian society. Who do you think those recent shock ads were really aimed at, if not the older voters of Australia? If they were aimed at kids, I'd expect they would have been followed up with new material to reinforce and more thoroughly educate. IMO it was another purely political stunt: to frighten the ignorant into supporting prohibition, and silence those who would otherwise speak out against it. If the ad campaign had had an ounce of integrity, it would have been a brilliant concept and much could have been gained in terms of affecting a demand reduction. Sadly, it was a missed opportunity.

Harm Reduction extends well beyond safe drug use information. It also has potential to reduce harm coming from government sponsored lies and coercive idealism, which at present results in many more users suffering through court actions or job dismissal. However, HR advocates can't announce in any manner that drug use can be safer than it presently is. They must convey the age old message that drugs are bad. Otherwise, as an organisation they become merely another activist group, kept at barge pole length from any federal or state support. Realistically, illicit drugs are dangerous, so by that definition they can't be termed good - potential to causing all manner of life upheavals - but ineffective and oppressive laws are just plain bad - for everyone.

I believe things will change, however it will take until a government is elected that is strong enough to accept science fact as the basis for which to formulate drug, health and social policies. When that day comes, the then educated public will undoubtedly look back on the totalitarian prohibitionists as being some of the most evil people in history.

So come out of the users' closet and get the ball rolling, ..dat's what I think!*

Note: There's a lot of if's in this opinionated blurb. What it comes down to is that I hate the public being treated like sheep. Freedom is fast becoming like the edge of an ever shrinking paddock. Sorry, but any politician who makes decisions based on religious grounds, hasn't an ounce of credibility in my books. It's all so last century....:p

* borrowed from that painfully honest, but brutally confronting comedian - Andrew Dice Clay

21-03-2006, 12:31
Well said on many counts p_d.

Firstly, I have no doubt that famous sportspeople in this country are regular users of recreational drugs. From my own time in the scene, it's fairly well known in Melbourne the places that AFL players frequent, often on more than just alcohol, and the amount of past players you frequently see out indulging is evidence enough of how widespread the problem is.

As Jeff Kennett, president of a football club in one of the most affluent areas of Victoria said recently; when you have players not even twenty-one who are payed over $40,000 a year just to warm the bench all season, it's not hard to imagine that they're prone to finding hedonistic ways to spend that money.

No different to many, many other young Australians with much more disposable income than their parents had at the same age in previous generations.

I've also noticed that the media over the last few years are making greater intrusions into the privacy of players at the elite level across all sports, and that their reporting on recreational drug use is becoming more brazen.

The two examples I can think of are the swab testing of toilet seats at the Brownlow awards, as reported in the Herald Sun not long ago and this recent situation where newspapers are going to court to get permission to name the players that have tested positive so far.

In that regards, I think you'll see your wish soon, that players at the highest level will have to face up to the public about their drug use... though it's hard to imagine that they'll deviate from the standard "fallen hero/I am sick & ashamed & need help" line that others in the situation have fallen on in the past.

To me the question of whether the public perception of drug users in this country can be changed by the outing of their sporting heroes as drug users is a moot point.

As we've seen in the past with the opening of injecting room facilities in NSW and the following outcry internationally from the UN; Australia answers to it's allies in the war on drugs, just as it does in the war on terror. Prohibition would not exist in it's present form today if America were not the military and cultural superpower that it is, with the influence that it has abroad.

Sorry to sound so cynical... I think I read too many newspapers ;)

Anyway, the following article just shows how absurd this is all starting to get...

21-03-2006, 12:32
Tuckey seeks blackout over sports drug users
By Katharine Murphy
March 21, 2006

Wilson Tuckey
Photo: Pat Scala

FIRST it was protecting media diversity in the regions. Now it is recreational drug use in the AFL.

Maverick Liberal backbencher Wilson Tuckey is threatening to amend the Federal Government's new media policy if powerful sports administrations such as the AFL refuse to crack down on players using drugs.

Mr Tuckey yesterday wrote to Prime Minister John Howard, Sports Minister Rod Kemp and Communications Minister Helen Coonan warning he was prepared to beef up the new laws to prevent the Government's tough-on-drugs policy descending into what he called "a farce".

"I am prepared to move amendments to our forthcoming media legislation which would ban the television and print reporting of all sporting events whose administration had failed to commit to, and implement, a satisfactory zero tolerance program for all drug abuse," Mr Tuckey declared in a letter obtained by The Age.

Mr Tuckey's outburst is a new aspect of the backbench unease about the new media policy that was announced by Senator Coonan last week. The changes pave the way for mergers and acquisitions in Australia's media industry by scrapping 20- year-old controls on foreign investment and domestic ownership.

Regional MPs have expressed concern that the policy will lead to less media diversity and declining "localism" in news.

But Mr Tuckey is not concerned about localism. He wants the Government to use the new media bill to pressure sporting associations to eliminate drug use by elite athletes.

The West Australian Liberal's anger has been prompted by recent news reports that three AFL players have twice tested positive to recreational drugs.

"To suggest that elite footballers have the same weakness as the rest of the community is no defence," Mr Tuckey said in his letter to senior ministers.

From The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/tuckey-seeks-blackout-over-sports-drug-users/2006/03/20/1142703289156.html)

23-03-2006, 22:39
AFL drug priorities
24 Mar 2006

THE AFL Players' Association can argue it is only doing its job in trying to protect the identities of three high-profile footballers who have twice tested positive to illicit drugs.

But the position of the AFL in supporting a Supreme Court injunction against media companies who want to name and shame these players is outrageous.

The AFL's job is to administer and promote the code, and in doing that it has no right to try and protect those who have engaged in illegal activity.

Its decision to call in the federal police to investigate how the names of the players became known is a case of trying to intimidate as well as shoot the messenger.

Footballers are important role models for young people and the AFL's drugs, racial abuse and sexual conduct codes are an acknowledgment of this.

Instead of engaging in a witch-hunt and trying to suppress names, AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou should devote his energies to tackling the main issue.

That is the worrying and continued use of illicit drugs by professional footy players.

For the the image of the game the AFL must now withdraw from this expensive and unnecessary court battle and stop trying to protect the drug trio.

From Herald Sun (http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,18578488%255E24218,00.html)


29-03-2006, 00:00
Some interesting comments, especially half-way down about why AFL players would prefer taking a pill over having beer.

Akermanis blasts drug secrecy
Jim Wilson
March 29, 2006

OUTSPOKEN Lions star Jason Akermanis says players who are stupid enough to take illicit drugs should be named immediately.

The triple premiership player says it's unfair on all players from non-Victorian clubs to have the stigma of being a drug user hanging over their heads.

His comments follow confirmation three players from non-Victorian clubs have twice tested positive to illicit drugs out-of-competition.

Under the AFL's drug code, the players' identities were supposed to remain confidential.

But a fortnight ago, The Courier-Mail confirmed three players from interstate clubs returned two positive tests.

Because of an injunction in the Victorian Supreme Court, the players' names cannot be made public and a trial will begin on May 22.

"Why should all of us have to be the subject of Chinese whispers and innuendo?" Akermanis said.

"If players are stupid enough to pop a pill, then they should suffer the consequences.

"I even heard a premiership player was involved and frankly that implicates all of us who have won a flag."

Akermanis has also raised serious concerns about the use of illicit drugs among AFL players.

"There is not a culture like that at my football club but I know a player who moved to another club was alarmed at the use of illicit drugs," he said.

"This player went to mad Monday celebrations after the season was over, and there wasn't a beer in sight. He was shocked at what was on offer."

Akermanis said the use of two separate drug codes was not working.

The World Anti-Doping Agency's code is in effect for the first time this season but the AFL has continued its fight against illicit drugs in the off season with its own code.

The WADA code does not provide for tests for illicit drugs out-of-competition and tests for those substances during the season on match days only.

However, penalties under the WADA code are far more severe for any positive test to illicit drugs.

Akermanis says the WADA code should never have been adopted.

"It stinks and compared with 12 months ago, we have slipped behind," he said.

"There was absolutely nothing wrong with the AFL code and it stinks they were painted into a corner and forced to adopt the WADA code."

Akermanis believes the AFL must either take a hardline approach or scrap the out-of-competition testing.

"They're trying to monitor player's behaviour and make no mistake it is an issue," the Lions star said.

"But if you're going to have it, then there must be zero tolerance and if you cross the line, then players should suffer the penalties."

He's also suggested the pressure on players to return from an off-season fit and ready to perform at the elite level had sparked an increase in illicit drug use.

"It is far easier for a player to pop a pill than have a few beers when you talk about skin fold tests and what's expected of them after time away from the game," Akermanis said.

"It is such a shame they don't realise what they're taking is illegal and causing damage."

His comments will further strengthen AFL chief Andrew Demetriou's drive to continue the fight against illicit drugs.

But there is mounting pressure on Demetriou to take an even harder approach to out-of-competition testing.

It is an enormous challenge for the AFL boss who faces concerted opposition from the Players' Association if he even considers adopting a harder line against illicit drugs.

The AFLPA has indicated it has grave concerns about signing a new agreement at the end of this season to continue the league's out-of-competition illicit drug code.

Akermanis has also flagged a change of direction in the way he handles his contract negotiations and business affairs.

One of the most marketable products in the game has signed a new arrangement with leading sports management company athletes1.

The company is headed up by former Essendon stars Ricky Olarenshaw and Justin Blumfield.

Akermanis has obviously softened his opinion on player managers who he labelled last year as "parasites".

But he wants to strengthen his Melbourne base eyeing a move back here once his career ends.

"I like what Ricky and Justin are doing and the fact they know the business and have also played the game is a huge attraction," Akermanis said.

"I need to have more of a presence in Melbourne as I want to be pursue a senior coaching role down the track. I want to be in Melbourne as that's where I want to learn the coaching caper."

Akermanis said he hadn't ruled out becoming an assistant coach under Brisbane coach Leigh Matthews.

"Perhaps, but there is a real want to go to Melbourne and learn under someone like Terry Wallace, Mick Malthouse or Kevin Sheedy," he said.

"I want to coach and I think those guys would be great to learn under."

Akermanis will use Olarenshaw and athletes1 to look after his business interests, media commitments, and possibly his next contract negotiation at the end of next year.

He will seek a new contract with the Lions at the end of the 2007 season.

But his appearances on the new look The Footy Show will have to be scaled back.

"I love being on the show and I think Garry (Lyon) and James (Brayshaw) will do a good job," Akermanis said.

"But my training schedule has changed and we've switched from Wednesday nights to Thursdays, so unfortunately I won't have too many spots on the show."

Akermanis though wants to spend more time in Melbourne and Olarenshaw believes he'll be in demand.

"We are thrilled to have Jason on board and we believe it will be an extremely successful partnership," Olarenshaw said.

From Courier-Mail (http://www.couriermail.news.com.au/story/0,20797,18641592-5003410,00.html)