Australian Football League Clubs Angered By League's Pre-Draft Interview Rules
Clubs "have been angered" by an Australian Football League directive that "they can no longer interview potential draftees unless they notify the league in advance," according to Emma Quayle of THE AGE. In a tightening of draft rules aimed at protecting player welfare, clubs "have been warned that they risk being investigated unless they let the AFL know where and when they plan to meet with any teenage prospects." Clubs that "use aggressive interviewing techniques are on notice, with the AFL also clamping down on those who defy existing rules by conducting their own medical, physical or psychological evaluations of players." One recruiting manager said, "If I've got a player I think no one else knows about, there's no way I'm telling the AFL I'm talking to him. I'll take the fine." Under the tightened rules, clubs must email AFL Talent Academies Manager Michael Ablett before they intend to conduct any "structured" interviews. Ablett said, "We're not trying to prevent clubs from working as hard as they can or from looking for a competitive edge. This is about putting strong guidelines in place for the betterment of the players." He added, "We've been aware over the past few years that whether it be psychological, physical or medical testing, clubs have been doing things that may be outside protocol, and we're now much better resourced to take action" (THE AGE, 3/20).