The AFL players’ union and league medical bosses are opposed to a call for integrity investigators to be told which footballers have drug strikes, because confidentiality under the illicit drugs policy is too important.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon on Tuesday suggested the league’s integrity team should be told the identity of players who failed tests, because they were more susceptible to blackmail and to being coerced into spot-fixing scenarios.
AFL integrity services manager Brett Clothier, when questioned by Xenophon at a Senate committee hearing into gambling reform, conceded the issue should be discussed by the working party established at the league’s drug summit in January.
Under the AFL’s illicit drugs policy, the identities of players who fail drug tests are known only to the player, his club doctor and the league’s medical commissioner.
The AFL Players Association’s general manager of player relations, Ian Prendergast, said on Wednesday the proposal was ”unnecessary and inappropriate” and had never been raised by the league.
”It would seem that there are a number of things that can be considered to deal with concerns around corruption and integrity before we look at that information being provided,” he said.
”It’s certainly inconsistent with the reasons why the policy was established. Whilst we are open to discussing measures to ensure the integrity of our game is maintained, these will need to be balanced with protecting the fundamental rights of players, including the right to privacy.”
AFL medical officials also expressed resistance to names being released, as confidentiality was one of the foundations the illicit drugs policy was based on.
Adelaide medical officer Andrew Potter said players had agreed to the policy only after being convinced confidentiality would be respected. ”The more people that are involved, the greater the risk of a breach of confidentiality. ”Our association’s [the AFL Medical Officers Association] policy is that we are very comfortable with the current model.”
With Jon Pierik
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.