AFL beefs up illicit drugs policy

The AFL has confirmed a stricter illicit drugs policy under which a player’s identity will become public after a second positive test.

Previously, the player’s identity was kept anonymous until a third strike.

A second positive test will mean a four-game suspension and a $5000 fine, while a third strike will result in a 12-game ban.

AFL football operations manager Mark Evans and AFL Players’ Association chief executive Paul Marsh announced the revised policy on Wednesday afternoon in Melbourne.

The policy has been in place since 2005 and regularly has attracted criticism for being too lenient on players who test positive.

But the league and the players have pointed out it is a voluntary policy, separate to the standard anti-doping code.

The new policy follows a seven-month review process involving the AFL, its players and clubs.

“The landscape of illicit drugs’ use is changing reasonably rapidly … we want to deter our players from using illicit drugs,” Marsh said.

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