AFL 2024: Illicit Drugs Policy revamp, “punitive” new code, drugs testing bombshell, Andrew Wilkie speech in parliament, Eddie McGuire comments, reaction, latest news

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The AFL’s Illicit Drugs Policy (IDP) is reportedly set to be revamped ahead of next season, with the current iteration said to be “officially done” in the wake of Tuesday night’s bombshell revelations.

The league on Wednesday confirmed it was assessing the claims made by independent MP Andrew Wilkie in parliament on Tuesday, with Wilkie declaring he possessed a signed concession from former Melbourne doctor Zeeshan Arain in which he claimed the AFL conducted illicit drug tests to help players avoid being detected on match-days.

On Wednesday night, the Herald Sun’s Sam Landsberger and Michael Warner reported that up to 100 players are currently in the medical model.

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However, it appears the 19-year-old policy will imminently receive a facelift, with a “punitive code” thought to be on the way.

Nine journalist Damian Barrett noted the tenuous nature of the existing IDP on Footy Classified on Wednesday, referencing a previous revelation surfaced by former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.

“It was controversial from its inception. It has served a purpose to a point, for the AFL, but it is littered with flaws and it is has been rorted — and as you (McGuire) reported earlier this month, it is officially done,” Barrett said.

McGuire claimed the league is losing control of the drugs situation, and while he acknowledged the problematic existence of mental health issues across the AFL, raised the issue of players that are ‘taking the mickey’.

“The Players’ Association, the players who don’t do drugs, the clubs and the AFL say it is all getting out of hand again,” McGuire started on Footy Classified.

“We want to be empathetic to everyone that’s got mental health issues, but don’t take the mickey, and now it’s too dangerous for everyone.”

McGuire explained the “punitive” new code, detailing the timeline of introduction and the intricacies of the new guidelines.

“Enough is enough,” he continued. “They are going to bring in a punitive code. They are going to say that the AFL is not on match-day the testing, but ‘match-day’ is the entire season.

“That’s the biggest jump that is coming. I believe that this will be done by June this year, and I think it’ll come in next year — they’ll kick it around, they’ll have to get everybody signed off on it, but there’s far less sense of humour about looking after the players.

“They’ll still have what was WADA, so Sports Integrity Australia, doing the match-day testing for everything, including performance-enhancing … so, this will actually be the strongest drug code, probably, in sport.”

If AFL drug test allegations are true it will be ‘very hard for them to cover it up’

McGuire sought to assure club doctors weren’t to blame for a lack of transparency, as they remained bound to confidentiality amid the AFL’s regulations.

“That’s the thing — the doctor’s aren’t hiding, their first priority is doctor-patient confidentiality,” McGuire continued.

“The AFL made it prohibitive to find out … so, Melbourne coming out today and saying it’s got nothing to do with them and everything to do with the AFL is 100 per cent right.”

The ex-Magpies boss reported the potential amount of time a positive player will be forced out of action, noting the ‘normalisation’ of drug use.

“We’re nominating six weeks (out of the game). Now, it might be four weeks, but what they want to do is they’re going to normalise it, if you like,” he said.

“So, (for example) ‘Lloyd out; hamstring. Joe Blow out; drugs.’

“We all have to have the grown-up pants on now and say ‘drugs are a problem, mental health issues are a problem, they’re not stigmas anymore, you can work through it.’”

Originally published as ‘Enough is enough’: AFL’s controversial drugs policy set for overhaul after bombshell claims

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