AFL warns gambling and drug cheats
Gambling and drug cheats are to face unprecedented pressure from the AFL as the code cracks down to protect the integrity of the sport.
The AFL now has the power to demand information from more than 20 betting agencies if investigators suspect gambling by players and officials.
The AFL has in the past had agreements to search the records of only Betfair and Tabcorp, but now has every major agency in its grasp.
Efforts to stamp out performance-enhancing drugs have also been ramped up.
Under a beefed-up agreement with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), the league will have access to police and Customs information in a bid to keep performance-enhancing drugs out of the game.
Police and customs could also be asked to provide information on associates of players and officials.
AFL Football Operations Manager Adrian Anderson explained "the two things we are really concerned about and keen to address are some of the problems with gambling and performance-enhancing drugs that have plagued international sport.
"We've been fortunate, I guess, that issues in these areas have been few and far between, but we can't afford to be complacent.
"We need to be proactive to protect our integrity. These issues can cruel a sport.
"We have had some relatively minor gambling issues and one performance-enhancing case in 15 years, with Justin Charles, but everything we know from overseas means we need to be more and more vigilant.
"I've got no doubt issues will arise in the future, it's just an issue of trying to safeguard against it."
The league has entered into a memorandum of understanding with ASADA, giving it powers far broader than simply testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
Anderson added "they perform what they tell us is the most comprehensive testing regime in Australian sport, but that's not enough."
The league, via its integrity services officer Brett Clothier, has struck arrangements with police in every state.
Anderson concluded "we need more of an intelligence capability to gain information via police, customs and other sources to be proactive in eliminating drugs."
The growth of betting in Australian sport is featured in the January/February 2010 issue of Australasian Leisure Management.
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