The AFL Players’ Association has been actively supporting Josh Thomas and Lachlan Keeffe over the past four months.
We believe these are young men of excellent character and we accept their statement that they did not deliberately take Clenbuterol but made an error of judgement by taking illicit drugs.
While we do not condone their actions, the penalty they will suffer is immense.
“This unfortunate situation serves as a painful reminder that the taking of illicit drugs carries significant risks to a player’s health and livelihood. By their nature, illicit drugs are not subject to the checks and balances that regulated supplements are – it is impossible to know what they contain.” – paul marsh, aflpa ceo
The AFLPA will continue to support Josh and Lachie in every way possible over the coming months and look forward to their return to the AFL in the future.
To this end we commend the Collingwood Football Club for the commitment they have made to support Josh and Lachie by re-drafting them as of next year.
This unfortunate situation serves as a painful reminder that the taking of illicit drugs carries significant risks to a player’s health and livelihood.
By their nature, illicit drugs are not subject to the checks and balances that regulated supplements are – it is impossible to know what they contain.
They may contain dangerous substances and they may also contain substances prohibited by the WADA Code.
We hope the positive from this issue is that any athlete considering taking illicit drugs in the future thinks about the risks to his or her career and decides not to do so.
In respect to comments made by the Collingwood Football Club this morning in relation to the Illicit Drugs Policy, as previously stated, we are committed to a joint review of the current policy with the AFL.
Established in 2005, the IDP is a voluntary policy developed collaboratively between the AFL Players’ Association and the AFL and is based on a medical model – one that focuses on education, counselling and treatment. Privacy remains a key priority.
Despite views to the contrary, the facts are that the policy has been successful in changing player behavior and deterring illicit drug use.
In saying this the AFLPA is committed to continually improving the policy and we will continue to hold ongoing discussions with the AFL, other industry stakeholders and independent experts to determine what, if any, changes to the IDP are necessary.