AFL backflips on drug code stance - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL backflips on drug code stance

By Sam Lienert 19/07/2005 06:21:49 PM Comments (0)

The AFL has backflipped on plans to reject the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) drug code, telling the federal government it will sign up by November.

AFL chief executive officer Andrew Demetriou informed federal Minister for Sport Rod Kemp at a meeting in Melbourne that the league would be compliant with the international anti-doping code by November 1.

Until the backdown, the AFL had been the only major sporting body in Australia not to agree to comply with the code, resulting in the suspension of about $1 million per year in federal funding.

That funding would resume in light of the commitment, Senator Kemp said.

Demetriou refused to comment on the reason for the about-turn, after issuing a statement less than a fortnight ago in which he said the AFL's existing drug policy was better suited to football.

"It would have been easy for us to accept the Government/WADA position, however, we are not an organisation that makes easy decisions," Demetriou said in a statement on July 8.

"In particular, we are not an organisation that puts an easy decision ahead of what is right for our players and for our game."

The AFL Players' Association, a strong supporter of the existing policy, reluctantly accepted the league had to buckle to public pressure.

"The AFLPA is not surprised at today's announcement given the significant political and financial pressures which have been focused on the AFL in recent times," the association said.

Senator Kemp welcomed the change in stance.

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