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Mon, June 24, 2024

Sport Integrity Australia Review Finds No Violations of WADA Code in AFL’s Illicit Drugs Policy

Sport Integrity Australia Review Finds No Violations of WADA Code in AFL’s Illicit Drugs Policy

Australia’s anti-doping body, Sport Integrity Australia (SIA), has cleared the Australian Football League (AFL) of allegations raised in Federal Parliament, while making a series of recommendations regarding the League's illicit drugs code

SIA launched an investigation after federal independent MP Andrew Wilkie alleged in March that AFL players known to have used illicit drugs were being sidelined to prevent positive test results on match day, which would violate the WADA code on performance-enhancing drugs and result in a long suspension.

“The assessment made a range of key recommendations, but significantly identified there were no breaches of the World Anti-Doping Code through any anti-doping rule violation by AFL players or support personnel or that injuries were feigned to cover up for positive drug testing during the week by the AFL or club doctors.

The SIA assessment makes several key recommendations:

Key recommendations:

  • the need for a level of independent oversight of the Illicit Drugs Policy
  • guidelines for AFL sanctioned illicit drugs testing within the policy
  • continued expansion of the intelligence capability in the AFL’s integrity unit
  • testing of AFLW players in the new policy
  • developing a strategy for addressing illicit drug use by non-players
  • greater education on the Illicit Drugs Policy and anti-doping policy
  • continuing to expand the AFL’s Education Program.

Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe said: “All Australian sport has reached a crossroad in dealing with illicit drug use, player mental health and wellbeing and criminal infiltration of sport. Significant intervention is required immediately to address the illicit drug culture in sport and the increasing and unacceptable risks posed to players, officials, clubs, and sporting codes,” 

"Without significant cultural intervention to address the illicit drug culture in all sports, Sport Integrity Australia is concerned about the dire impacts to player's health and wellbeing, and the potential to bring a code or team into disrepute through integrity threats.”

He also added that “The illicit drug landscape was different in 2005 when the AFL’s Illicit Drug Policy was first developed to that of today and dictates the need for an immediate overhaul of the current policy to bring it into line with current societal trends and increasing integrity and health threats in sport.”

The AFL is currently reviewing the existing policy and has stated that the SIA recommendations will be considered as part of the League's current review of its Illicit Drugs Policy.

The full SIA report can be found here

The AFL’s statement can be found here.

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