MP Andrew Wilkie claims AFL player’s family was blackmailed over his drug use

MP Andrew Wilkie claims AFL player’s family was blackmailed over his drug use

Despite Wilkie’s claims, the SIA told the AFL it was unaware of the blackmail incident.

“We have spoken to the SIA and they have advised that while the identities of all participants in the assessment remain confidential, they have confirmed that they have not received any information relating to reports of criminal threats against a player or the family of a former player,” the AFL said in a statement.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie.Credit: PAA

The league chose not to update its statement following Wilkie’s press conference.

“I’ll let people decide whether they trust the AFL or whether they trust Andrew Wilkie,” the MP said.

“I say to you in absolutely clear terms that I have raised concerns with Sport Integrity Australia about criminality and I have provided information to SIA about criminality.

“How else do you explain the fact that Sport Integrity Australia, in its (June) report, expressed concerns about the intersection between crime and the AFL?”

The family reportedly told Wilkie’s office that just days after their son was selected at the age of 18, he saw senior teammates smoking ice pipes.

“Unless reform is put in place, the AFL will continue to have a regime in place that effectively protects players from being dismissed after three offences,” Wilkie said.

He added that the league’s process would effectively protect players from a positive game-day drug test, facilitate continued drug use and was not in the players’ best interests.

Melbourne captain Max Gawn was asked about the allegations at a press conference on Tuesday. He said he was not aware of the blackmail allegations and believed drugs were no bigger a problem in the AFL than in society in general.

Asked if he thought the AFL’s anti-drug policy was the right one for players, he said: “I’m not sure what the right policy is.”

Melbourne captain Max Gawn.

Melbourne captain Max Gawn.Credit: AFL Photos

“I think the AFL have said it themselves: they’re going to refine the system. They’re going to continue to work on it. And I think from now on, forever, you’re going to have to refine the system every year to stay on top,” Gawn added.

“So the answer to that question is, ‘I don’t know what the answer is.’ But the answer is also, ‘I hope a lot of people are working on this to make sure they find the right answer,’ because this is clearly a major societal problem.”

Wilkie put the AFL’s drug policy in the spotlight in March this year when he claimed under parliamentary privilege that unofficial drug testing was being carried out by AFL clubs to protect players from detection on match days.

The Tasmanian independent MP claimed club doctors advised players who tested positive for drugs under the AFL’s anti-drug policy to fake an injury to avoid punitive testing on match day.

By not being available for selection, players would circumvent Sport Integrity Australia, which enforces the AFL’s strict anti-doping code, which adheres to the World Anti-Doping Agency code, on match days only.

The SIA investigated these allegations of “unofficial” drug testing and published its report into the allegations in June.

She said the processes did not violate anti-doping laws, but warned that the confidentiality provision at the heart of the league’s policy fueled suspicions of “sinister motives.”

Loading

He urged the AFL to strengthen its “intelligence capability to manage emerging threats to the integrity of the game” through illicit drugs and said the illicit drugs policy needed to be reviewed.

The review “significantly identified that there were no breaches of the World Anti-Doping Code through any anti-doping rule violations by AFL players or support staff, nor were injuries feigned to cover up positive drug tests during the week by the AFL or club doctors.”

“I’ve been immersed in this for some time now, and I’ve seen enough documents and spoken to enough people to be satisfied, in my opinion, that the blackmail that is being referred to is not an isolated case,” Wilkie said.

“And it’s not just my view. It’s one of the findings of Sport Integrity Australia, that there is a real risk of this sort of thing – I call it an intersection between organised crime and some people within the league.

“Obviously, the SIA would not have made this observation if it had thought this was an isolated case.”

SIA has been contacted for comment by this mast.

Stay up to date with the best AFL coverage in the country. Sign up to the Real Footy newsletter.