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Demetriou: Drugs not a ´widespread problem´

11 February 2013 04:47

But he conceded the non-Essendon player who is subject to an investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs might be able to play in the NAB Cup.

On Sunday, the AFL revealed Essendon and a player from a different team are the only two cases under investigation in relation to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Demetriou said he did not know who the other play was, but admitted that he could be playing in the NAB Cup this week as any potential penalties fall under the World Anti-Doping Agency code and will not be determined until the conclusion of the investigation.

"We are not able to notify the particular club where there is a case involving the possibility of WADA prohibited performance-enhancing drug use for this one player and in addition we have not been told the identity of the player in question so I don't know whether this player is a current player or not a current player," he said on Monday.

"We only have the authority at this stage to speak to the clubs and advise them whether or not they have been identified as having vulnerabilities to prohibited drug use whether it involves illicit and/or performance enhancing drugs.

"There is that chance (that he will play in the NAB Cup), but what I'd say is, in normal circumstances if a player had tested positive to performance-enhancing drugs, ASADA (the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) would be conducting an investigation in private and we wouldn't know about it, and there's a potential that a player would be playing in that situation.

"If they are found to be guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs, they will be dealt with under the WADA code, and it's exactly the same in this situation."

While Demetriou said he was unable to notify the club in question, he said the Australian Crime Commission may have already contacted the club or player directly.

The AFL chief also stressed that drugs in the AFL was only limited to these two instances and will not overshadow the NAB Cup, which gets underway this weekend.

"I want to stress to all our supporters, whether it's the NAB Cup or our AFL premiership season, to come along and watch the football and have faith in the game because this is not a widespread problem related to performance-enhancing drugs in our code," Demetriou said.

"Have faith in the game and come along and watch your football team play because the AFL has been at the forefront of performance-enhancing drugs and if there is one player out there being investigated by ASADA then that investigation will take place."

Demetriou was confident there were no instances of match-fixing in the game, but said the AFL must be at the forefront of any such issue going forward.

"Organised crime is pervading and intruding in global sport. You've seen it with match-fixing claims in soccer, you've seen it for the potential for match-fixing in other sports, maybe cricket," he said.

"What I'm very comfortable about is that there doesn't appear to be any match-fixing claims in AFL football, but it doesn't mean you take you foot off the pedal or eye off the ball.

"The AFL will co-operate with the ACC, ASADA and WADA, and will co-operate with anyone we have to, the Victoria police and other police around the states to make sure we do what we can to rid the game of any insidious infiltration of organised crime, illicit drugs and performance-enhancing drugs.

"That's always been our position and it will continue to be."

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