AFL Anit-Doping Code
AFL Victoria would like to clarify the following in relation to the Laws of Australian Football and how they relate to the AFL Anti-Doping Code for competitions other than the AFL competition.
Club players and officials of any Australian Football competition that is operated and managed under the Laws of Australian Football are bound by the AFL Anti-Doping Code. The relevant clause of the Laws of Australian Football is Clause 21. Clause 21.2 of these Laws, Variation and Interpretation, explains how the AFL Anti-Doping Code should be applied by a Controlling Body other than the AFL (eg: AFL Victoria or a community Football League).
The VFL & TAC Cup competitions, operated and managed by AFL Victoria, have annual education sessions conducted at respective Clubs for players and officials regarding the requirements of the AFL Anti-Doping Code. All players are required to attend and then acknowledge their understanding on completion of these sessions.
In 2013, trained AFL Victoria staff will deliver the education and key messages at VFL Clubs, with the players made well aware of the risks and subsequent sanctions in relation to prohibited substances. The education sessions are very similar to those presented at AFL Club level and have been delivered at VFL Clubs for as long as the AFL Anti-Doping Code has existed.
AFL Victoria and ASADA have an agreed testing program for the VFL competition. The organisations liaise regularly to ensure AFL Victoria complies with all ASADA requirements and our education strategies are appropriate. Players should be well aware that there is a possibility of being tested on match day for prohibited substances under the random testing conducted by ASADA as part of the agreement with AFL Victoria. No VFL player will be permitted to play in the VFL or the Development League until they have completed the education session and acknowledged their understanding of the obligations.
If a player has any doubt whatsoever then they should not consume a medication or supplement without first seeking medical or professional advice on whether it contains a banned performance-enhancing substance. All players should be very careful about the products they choose to purchase and consume. Players have a clear responsibility to know what they are taking and whether it contravenes the anti-doping rules that apply. Performance-enhancing substances will not be tolerated in our game.
Community football players can also be tested by ASADA as the competitions in which they play are operated and managed under the Laws of Australian Football. At last year’s conference with many of the state’s community Football League managers, AFL Victoria had a representative from ASADA attend from Canberra to help educate Leagues in the area of anti-doping and performance enhancing
products. More broadly, an education resource is currently being developed for community Leagues to pass on to Clubs and their players.
The strong message is that all players should check whether commercially available products they chose to source contravene the AFL Anti Doping Code prior to purchasing or receiving them. The fact that prohibited substances can be contained within commercially available supplements should serve as a warning to players who choose to purchase and consume these products. Any player purchasing supplements over the internet risks being identified by Australian Customs and referred to ASADA for investigation with the likely outcome to be a sanction under the AFL Anti-Doping Code. This occurrence highlights the fact that a player does not necessarily need to be tested to breach the Code.
AFL Victoria fully supports the work of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA). Along with other state football bodies, AFL Victoria has met with the AFL to discuss more broadly how we can collectively develop additional education programs to further ensure players understand their obligations and responsibilities under the AFL Anti-Doping Code and we will continue to strive to improve our practices.
The ASADA Website has education resources including video clips that provide more information. ASADA online education can be accessed via the ASADA website www.asada.gov.au. In addition, the ASADA Hotline can be contacted on 1300 027 232 – they can advise if a substance is on the prohibited list or not.