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AFL Doping Bans Make History

July 12, 2018 7:51am EDT

The Australian Football League (AFL) started in 1897 and was originally called the Victorian Football League until the name was changed in 1990 due to the expansion to the other Australian states. AFL is seen as an iconic Australian sport which attracts large crowds averaging around 32,000 people per game. It is a very popular industry to be in since there are so many different job positions and roles.

Drugs are usually known as a chemical compound that has an effect on a persons body in some way, either physically or psychologically. Drugs specific to elite sports, such as AFL, can include anabolic steroids and stimulants due to their performance-enhancing effects. The consumption of these drugs is known as doping. Doping is the administration of drugs to enhance the performance of a person or athlete. This can create unfair advantages in the game and also could lead to many health risks to the players that are doping. The AFL also has practices in place related to the use of illicit recreational drugs.

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is the governing body behind the restriction and regulation of drug use within Australian sporting events and was established in 2006 by the Australian government. ASADA designs and delivers education and communication programs, detects and manages anti-doping rule violations, conducts anti-doping investigation cases, monitors the compliance of anti-doping policies, and supports athletes to meet their anti-doping obligations.

World Anti-Doping Agency
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is the foundation made by the International Olympic Committee in 1999 and its role is to promote, coordinate and monitor drug use within sports. WADA is responsible for the creation of the World Anti-Doping Code which is adopted by more than 600 sporting organizations. The main tasks that the agency are involved in are research, education, development of anti-doping bodies and regulating the World Anit-Doping Code. Recently, WADA has developed partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with the aim to try facilitate drug detection methods.

AFL policy
The AFL is a signatory to ASADA and WADA, and its policy on performance-enhancing drugs is based upon those organisations. For non-performance-enhancing drugs, the AFL currently has a “three-strikes” policy, under which only the player and the club doctor are aware of any positive tests until a third such test is received is received. After the third strike, the club is made aware of the situation and the player may face disciplinary action. This policy has faced criticism for leniency from anti-doping bodies, particularly the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and as such has attracted much media scrutiny and public debate.