IT was supposed to be a celebration to launch this season's NAB Cup but instead AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou was forced to answer more probing questions on the use of performance enhancing drugs in the sport.
Amid the furore following on from last week's Australian Crime Commission report, Demetriou was forced into trying to reassure fans the AFL was doing all it could to clean up the game.
"I want to stress to all our supporters that whether it's the NAB Cup or the premiership season, come along and watch their football and have faith in the game, because this is not a widespread problem relating to performance enhancing drugs in our code," he said.
Demetriou did, however, concede the player who was being investigated by the ACC could be playing in the NAB Cup which starts on Friday night at Etihad Stadium with a lightning round-robin between the Bombers - the club where a number of players are under investigation for drug use - the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood.
After receiving clarification from the ACC, Demetriou also said he was unable to notify the club it had a player under investigation.
"We are doing our very best to be transparent on these issues," he said.
"But it's a special set of circumstances and we must comply with the parameters being put upon us by the Australian Crime Commission and its legislation."
Demetriou said if a player was under investigation it would be perfectly normal for the AFL not to know about it.
"There is that chance that the player is playing in the NAB Cup," he said.
"But what I'd say is, in normal circumstances if a player had tested positive to performance enhancing drugs, ASADA would be conducting an investigation in private and there's a potential that a player would be playing in that situation.
"If they are found to be guilty of using performance enhancing drugs, they will be dealt with under the WADA code, and it's exactly the same in this situation."
Demetriou said he would have liked to have been able to be in contact with the second club involved and would ask the ACC if he could do so.
He also said the ACC might have contacted the club or the player directly but was unsure whether that was the case.
He would not be drawn on whether he would prefer the second club to go public if it had been approached by authorities about the suspicion over one of its players.
League officials could face financial penalties or even jail time if they breach strict confidentiality agreements with authorities, Demetriou said.
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