A Kicking Balls special: AFL Controversy!

6 08 2007


The most controversial point of the weekend came when Jason Akermanis, following up comments made last week that he had suspected an opponent of using EPO, passed on the player’s name to ASADA after being contacted by the drug testing agency. It has since been revealed that the player is a West Coast player. I’m not sure what Aker hopes to gain from it, or if anything will be done about it, but it raises, again, the subject of drugs in the sport. This goes on top of Peter Everitt’s claims last week he had only been tested for illicit substances once, in January, and Brent Harvey’s claims he had not been tested this year at all.

Spida Everitt’s claims last week have opened a can of worms that simply won’t go away. The fact he stated he has not been tested for illicit drugs since January is alarming in itself.

drugs & sports don’t mixAndrew Demetriou stated last year “The AFL has been at the forefront of drug testing since it instituted a drug testing regime for performance enhancing drugs in 1990 and since then over 6000 drug tests have been performed on AFL players with only one player testing positive for anabolic steroids (Justin Charles). The AFL is WADA compliant and our players are tested by officials from ASADA, including a number of players that played in the AFL grand final. The testing is random and ensures that players from all clubs are chosen to be tested during the year and that players can’t predict when they may or may not be tested for performance-enhancing drugs.”

Sounds impressive, except when you do the math. If testing (for performance enhancing drugs) began in 1990, as Demetriou asserts, this equates to 353 tests per year and assuming all clubs (16 in total, although this was not the case in the early 1990s) were tested on an even proportion, that works out at 22 tests per year per team, or roughly one player per team per round. This number just does not represent ‘rigorous monitoring of competitors’. And then we can discuss the illicit drugs testing. According to the league earlier this year, they have conducted 500 illicit drug tests in the past year. Assuming all-year round testing, this equates to an average of 9.6 tests per week, or 0.6 of a test per team per week. Not figures that the AFL should be proudly spruiking. This isn’t a problem that will simply go away as the league seems to hope. I am predicting this to get a lot worse before it gets better. Let’s hope I am wrong.

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4 responses

7 08 2007

100% transparency and a lot more rigorous testing and monitoring needs to be the policy.

Band Aid solutions won’t fix the AFL’s problem, it’s deep seaded and needs to be addressed thoroughly.

7 08 2007

First thing that needs to occur is that Mr Demetriou needs to accept that there IS a problem.

7 08 2007

Nice piece there Daws. I’m pretty sure that Aker didn’t publicly name Michael Braun, that rather dubious role was played by Channel 7. I’m sure that both parties will be recieving a phone call from Braun’s solictor at some point with a defammation suit on the cards. Surely Channel 7 don’t need to resort to such low tactics in order to drum up some support for their AFL coverage and for people to actually associate the network with AFL in general. Looks like Mr. Stokes may have to get his court suit dry cleaned yet again….

8 08 2007

This is correct, what seems to get lost in all this is that Jason has never publicly named Braun. After his comments in his column he received correspondence from ASADA seeking clarification. As far as can be ascertained that information was somehow leaked to the public, not from Akermanis but perhaps from inside ASADA. So perhaps Channel 7 and ASADA need to get some legal advice? (And yes Boucks, why oh why do Channel 7 feel the need to follow the horrendous path of gossip an d innuendo set by Craig Hutchison at Channel 9?)
This wouldn’t be the first time information has leaked like this, earlier this year Port Adelaide players were warned that drug testers would be arriving at training to test players the next day, and low-and-behold there they were. That information could only come from within the organisation.
Gt, Don, spot on. Accept that the problem exists and be completely transparent in their handling of the matter..

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