Drug ban in AFL inevitable: Demetriou - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Drug ban in AFL inevitable: Demetriou

By Adam Cooper 14/05/2010 04:55:59 PM Comments (0)

AFL boss Andrew Demetriou admits it's inevitable a player will be suspended for recording three positive tests to illegal drugs.

The league this week announced there were 14 failed tests among its players in 2009 from a total of 1568 recorded samples.

Two of those failed tests were second strikes, which means there are now seven players sitting on two strikes over the rolling four-year cycle.

Under the AFL's illicit drugs policy, players are named publicly and suspended for up to 18 games if they record three failed tests in a four-year cycle.

Demetriou said on Friday there was a good chance of a player one day recording a third strike given the league was increasing the number of tests every year.

"Probably, yeah. You would think on the number of tests that we're doing now and the randomness of those tests - and we're going to increase the number of tests - then it's possible that we could get a player who tests positive three times," the AFL chief executive told Fairfax radio on Friday.

"If they do they'll be suspended."

Although he stood by the rules, Demetriou said the AFL would offer to help any player who failed three tests and was suspended.

"If they require help, absolutely," he said.

"The whole policy is about help, about adopting a medical model to try to change and shift the behaviour of people.

"It's not about catching them and then shaming them so that somehow it's going to make people feel good.

"It's about giving them confidential treatment to shift their behaviour. And it's working."

Demetriou refused to condemn any player in danger of recording a third strike, as in some cases players who used illicit drugs were suffering from a mental illness, such as depression.

"There are some people who will be silly, who think they can run the gauntlet and take illicit drugs, and if they get caught taking illicit drugs or get tested and they test positive and they get tested again, they'll get a second positive," he said.

"In the main what we do know is the use of alcohol, excessive use of alcohol, is a forerunner to players partaking in use of illicit drugs.

"Secondly, there are other factors, including mental illness, which leads to players partaking in illegal drug use."

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