AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has forecast a review of the league’s two drugs policies in the wake of the Collingwoood positive tests.
McLachlan went as far as saying it might be time to toughen their controversial “three-strikes” illicit drugs policy.
Any attempt by the AFL to harden the illicit drugs provisions risks a major fight with the players, given it is a voluntary code.
McLachlan said he was incredibly disappointed and frustrated by the news that Magpies Lachlan Keeffe and Josh Thomas had tested positive to the banned substance clenbuterol.
The positive tests fall under the ASADA anti-doping code and the players are now under provisional suspension.
Their positive tests are unrelated to the illicit drugs policy.
While the illicit drugs code is specific to the AFL, the anti-doping provisions come under the umbrella of ASADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
But McLachlan said the two positive tests at Collingwood suggested it was time to look at all the ways the league tries to police drug use among its players.
“We have had well-researched, well-considered policies and have had them in place for some time, both with illicit drugs and obviously with our ASADA-WADA policy,” McLachlan told Fox Sports.
“We think we’ve had the right policy settings.
“But I think right now that if the policies aren’t working, then we need to look at them and have a look at what’s going wrong.
“Because after today, I think it’s time to actually have a look at them.”
McLachlan was then asked specifically about the illicit drugs policy.
“This has been a voluntary policy, but things have moved a long way since these policies were brought in place,” he said.
“We acknowledge and accept that players have rights, but they also have responsibilities.
“If they’re not going to live around those responsibilities, then I think we have to address the settings.”
Senior Collingwood officials hope to talk at greater length to Keeffe and Thomas on Tuesday or Wednesday about the positive tests.
They only spoke briefly to the players on Friday, after ASADA officially notified them of the test results.
Keeffe and Thomas are under provisional suspension until their B samples are tested on April 14.
This is expected to be a formality, with the pair likely to face the league’s anti-doping tribunal.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said on Monday night that the players were at a complete loss to explain how they tested positive.
News of the positive tests is another major blow to the AFL ahead of this week’s opening round.
The positive tests were revealed the day before the AFL anti-doping tribunal hands down its verdicts on 34 current and past Essendon players, over charges relating to the club’s supplements scandal.