AFL to oversee club drug, supplement use
By Sam Lienert
20:11 AEST Thu Feb 7 2013

Clubs will need the AFL's approval before giving players drugs or any other substances as the league responds to damaging revelations in the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou admitted his league, along with the NRL, were identified as the two codes that most needed to do more to combat the threat of performance-enhancing drugs.

The AFL Commission held an emergency meeting on Thursday afternoon, after the release of the ACC report, before announcing its action plan.

"We're putting all clubs on notice that they will have to advise the AFL of all drugs and substances they are providing to their players and the use of those drugs and substances will be subject to AFL approval," AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said.

Demetriou said the use of supplements and treatments by all clubs would be audited, with the help of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA).

ASADA is already investigating AFL club Essendon over concerns about supplements supplied to Bombers' players last year, although Demetriou said that investigation, launched on Tuesday, was not prompted by the ACC findings.

The AFL will also make all club personnel, who have contact with players, register with the league - including contractors and consultants - an area highlighted by the report.

They will all have to undergo background checks.

The AFL will review the practices of all club doctors and their supervision of player treatment, particularly that involving external practitioners.

It will become mandatory to report doping activity or approaches to engage in doping and a whistle-blower service will be established.

The AFL's integrity unit will get greater funding, more staff and better technology.

Demetriou said he was restricted from disclosing whether the ACC had informed the AFL of specific players or clubs involved in anti-doping breaches, but indicated it could be widespread.

"It would be fair to say that after today, there will be people at all of our clubs, working at all different levels, that will include players, that will have had a wake-up call," Demetriou said.

He warned any player using performance-enhancing drugs that they would be caught.

But he said even if the entire season went by with no drug cheats identified, it would not mean they were getting away with it.

"It doesn't mean that at all," Demetriou said.

"It might be ongoing investigations. You need to gather proof and evidence.

"But I tell you, we will have the capability and the resources and the intelligence to conduct as thorough an investigation as you can imagine."

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