AFL to help with Suns investigation

The controversial AFL illicit drugs code means key findings of an investigation into Karmichael Hunt’s explosive claims might never become public.

The league said on Monday that Gold Coast chief executive Travis Auld had contacted them, asking for help with the investigation.

But unless that investigation leads to a Suns player recording a third strike under the illicit drugs policy, any findings about his drug use would be confidential.

“If any information comes up around drug use, it will be treated under the illicit drug policy,” said AFL operations manager Mark Evans.

The “three strikes” illicit drugs policy is a voluntary code, separate to the standard anti-doping regime.

The players have agreed to an overhaul of the illicit drugs code and that is now underway.

Under the three-strikes policy, if a player is found to have taken illicit drugs for a first or second time, that is kept private while he undergoes counselling.

Earlier on Monday, Travis said the AFL’s illicit drugs policy needed “refreshment” in light of Hunt’s explosive claims.

Travis has launched the Suns’ investigation into the cross-code star’s allegations of drug use during his time at the club.

Asked if the AFL’s three strikes drugs policy needed to be addressed, Travis said: “The policy has been in existence for a while now and it’s probably due for some sort of refreshment.”

The Suns contacted Hunt’s lawyers on Monday in a bid to obtain the statements provided to the Queensland Crime Commission that were made public on Sunday in newspapers.

Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett and the rest of the leadership group were set to meet football manager Marcus Ashcroft and coaching staff at the club on Monday to discuss the allegations.

According to a NewsCorp Australia report, Hunt told police he binged on drugs and alcohol for days at a time and would sometimes turn up high to official team functions.

He also claimed he met his dealer outside a pizza shop to buy cocaine for himself and his club mates.

Hunt reportedly made the explosive allegations in a statement to Queensland police after being charged earlier this year with possession of cocaine.

Hunt pleaded guilty to four counts of cocaine possession in March after doing a deal with prosecutors in which the original, more serious, charges of supply were downgraded.

Travis was not confident of obtaining the statements from Hunt’s lawyers.

Evans said the AFL had previously asked Queensland authorities for information about Hunt’s claims.

“They told us they were obliged not to share that information,” he said.

“So now the information is in the public realm, we can again assist to take that direct questioning to the players.”

Evans also defended the illicit drugs policy and the behaviour of AFL players.

“Our players still fall well below community levels of drug use – well below.

“But we did identify at the start of this year that we felt it was an opportune time to review the drug policy.”

Evans added that Hunt had generated a lot of attention for Gold Coast by playing for the new club.

“You would judge all of the things that happened across his time in the AFL and this will be a part of that,” Evans said.

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