AFL news 2023: AFL finals player tests positive to drugs | Herald Sun
A player from a Melbourne-based finals team has tested positive to drugs late in the home and away season.
A urine sample taken from the player after a game in the weeks leading up to the AFL finals returned positive for a banned substance, believed to be cocaine.
It’s understood the player took the drug just days out from a home and away match.
He was tested after the game by Sports Integrity Australia officials as part of regulation in-competition testing for performance enhancing drugs.
The result of the test wasn’t known until after the finals series.
A source close to the issue said the player was from a Melbourne club involved in the finals, which means he would play for either the Demons, Collingwood, Carlton or St Kilda.
The results of player’s A sample has only been known for a couple of days.
It’s believed Sports Integrity Australia has informed the player he has returned a positive test.
The AFL complies with WADA’s anti-doping code, which is governed in Australia by SIA, and cocaine is listed on the WADA in-competition prohibited list of stimulants.
The AFL on Monday confirmed the positive test.
“The AFL is working with the player on this matter,” a spokesperson said.
The penalty for an “in competition” positive test is up to four years’ suspension, although there are provisions for a lesser penalty in some situations.
While a four-year suspension is possible, under the AFL’s anti-doping code, if the player can prove the violation was not intentional or there are other circumstances, the penalty could be reduced to as little as a month.
The code was updated on January 1, 2021, whereby “an athlete who has tested positive to a Substance of Abuse’ in-competition (which includes cocaine), the sanction is only three months if the athlete can prove the substance was used out of competition and was unrelated to sporting performance’’.
AFL rules dictate that the “in-competition” period starts at “11:59pm on the day before a competition in which the athlete is scheduled to participate through the end of such competition and the sample collection process’’.
Also, a suspension could be reduced to one month if the ‘’athlete completes a Substance of Abuse treatment program approved by AFL’’.
In 2019, Collingwood’s Sam Murray argued that he had inadvertently ingested a tiny amount of cocaine before he was given an 18-month suspension.
In 2020, former Gold Coast ruckman Brayden Crossley accepted a 12-month suspension for an unintentional anti-doping violation.
In 2015, then Collingwood players Lachie Keeffe and Josh Thomas accepted two-year bans for testing positive to the drug clenbuterol.
They were tested in February of that year, which was out of competition.
More recently, Willie Rioli, when he was at the Eagles, was suspended for two years after being found guilty of substituting his urine during two anti-doping drugs tests.