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AFL Defends Drug Testing Policies Amid Allegations Of Secret Testing

The AFL has stood firm on its commitment to prevent players with illicit substances in their system from participating in matches, despite allegations of secret drug testing allowing some individuals to evade detection.

The response comes in the wake of bombshell claims made by Federal MP Andrew Wilkie, who detailed allegations of off-the-books drug testing and player manipulation within the league.

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Wilkie’s assertions, relayed during a parliamentary session, included allegations from former Melbourne club doctor Zeeshan Arain, ex-Demons president Glen Bartlett, and Shaun Smith, father of Melbourne player Joel Smith

The trio alleged that players who tested positive for illicit substances would fake injuries to avoid match-day testing by Sports Integrity Australia (SIA), with test results kept secret from regulatory bodies.

In response, the AFL released a statement highlighting its commitment to player wellbeing and welfare.

“We are unapologetic about club and AFL doctors taking the correct steps to ensure that any player who they believe has an illicit substance in their system does not take part in any AFL match,” said in the statement.

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“The medical interests and welfare of players is a priority for the AFL given everything we know about the risks facing young people generally and those who play our game in particular.”

While the Federal parliament was shocked by these allegations, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin denied knowledge of the alleged secret tests.

On Wednesday, Mr Goodwin said the Demons would seek more information from the AFL.

“Every club’s interested now to find out more,” he said.

“Every person in clubland would want answers and want understanding of how the policy works. We’re no different.”

The AFL illicit-drugs policy was first implemented in 2005 and the league said urine tests have been part of the system for “some time”.

“Doctors may use those urine tests to obtain an immediate result to determine whether any illicit substance remains in a player’s system,” said in the statement.

“If the test shows a substance is still in the players system, a doctor will take steps to prevent a player from taking part in either training and/or an AFL match both for their own health and welfare and because having illicit substances in your system on match day may be … a breach of the Australian Football Anti-Doping Code.”

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