Home Australia Confused about the AFL’s drug policy amid claims of off-the-books drug testing? Here’s everything you need to know

Confused about the AFL’s drug policy amid claims of off-the-books drug testing? Here’s everything you need to know

by Elijah
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A yellow Australian rules ball sitting on the grass.

The AFL, its clubs and its players are under media attention this week over drug policy in Australia’s richest sporting league.

Headlines across the country have spread allegations made in parliament about unofficial drug tests and players faking injuries to cover up positive results.

The league is no stranger to controversies surrounding the use and abuse of illicit drugs by its players.

But while players can be caught possessing or using the same drugs, the penalties can often differ greatly, creating confusion among football fans as to the actual rules.

This is how the AFL’s drug policy works.

What is the AFL’s policy on illicit drugs?

The AFL has two anti-drug policies at play, working together.

The first is the Australian Football Anti-Doping Codewhich is enforced by Sports Integrity Australia (formerly ASADA), the national anti-doping organisation.

This code restricts the use of players Prohibited substances established by the World Anti-Doping Agency. (AMA).

Some of these substances, such as anabolic steroids, growth hormones, and diuretics (which can be used to mask other performance-enhancing drugs), are prohibited at all times.

Other substances, such as cocaine and cannabis, are only prohibited “in competition.”

That means players will only violate the code if they test positive for the banned substance between the end of a game and 11:59 p.m. the night before.

However, Sports Integrity Australia does not have the authority to test players outside of competitions.

As a result, The AFL also employs an illicit drug policy. (IDP), which it says “specifically addresses illicit substance use outside of competition and focuses on the health and well-being of players.”

The AFL operates an illicit drugs policy in addition to an anti-doping policy.(AAP: Joe Castro)

In a statement on Wednesday, the AFL said it specifically uses the IDP to prevent players from breaching the Australian Football Anti-Doping Code.

“If the test shows that there is still a substance in the player’s system, a doctor will take steps to prevent a player from participating in training and/or an AFL match, both for his or her own health and well-being and because he or she has illicit substances. in their system. on match day may be considered a performance enhancement and a breach of the Australian Football Anti-Doping Code,” the statement said.

Due to doctor-patient confidentiality, a player does not necessarily have to inform the club of a positive test.

What are the differences in sanctions?

The AFL says the two policies have different objectives – one to protect the welfare of players and the other to protect the integrity of the game – and therefore the penalties for running aground also differ.

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