The AFL Players’ Association has released the following statement, to be attributed to AFLPA CEO, Paul Marsh:
In 2015 the AFL Players’ Association agreed to an extensive joint review of the Illicit Drugs Policy (IDP) with the AFL and industry stakeholders and signed off on a revised policy. These changes reflect the continued evolution of the IDP.
While we believe the philosophy and fundamentals of the policy are right, this is a complex issue and we are committed to giving the policy time to take effect.
We have committed to the evolution of the IDP to ensure it finds the right balance between players’ responsibility to the game, dealing with their medical and health concerns, protecting their rights and influencing behavioural change.
One of the fundamental pillars of the IDP is confidentiality and whilst we appreciate there is public interest around this issue, we strongly believe releasing results of any testing serves absolutely no purpose in achieving the objectives of the policy.
Considered changes have been made to the policy, in consultation with drug and medical experts, and to be critical of it at this point before it’s even had a chance to take effect is simply premature.
It’s important to reinforce that all AFL players have voluntarily agreed to be subject to the policy on the basis that the results remain confidential. We have sought the approval of players to use the results of off-season hair testing for statistical purposes, to better understand the level and patterns of usage. This informs the industry as to any changes that may be appropriate in future. The results also enable players to be counselled and educated about illicit drug use, and allow for target testing of players in-season.
Click HERE to read the updated Illicit Drugs Policy, which was revised after wide-ranging discussions through the 2015 season between the AFL, the AFL Players’ Association, medical officers and AFL Clubs.