Australian Football League club execs have "taken aim" at the sport's "contentious illicit drugs policy" amid claims players are "exploiting mental health to avoid strikes," according to Michael Warner of the HERALD SUN. Hawks President Jeff Kennett declared the AFL's drug code had long been "a sham" because it was "open to abuse." Western Bulldogs President Peter Gordon said that clubs deserved to know if players were "repetitively breaking the law by using illicit substances" or "grooming" younger teammates. Gordon: "If there was a player on any club's list that was doing that, then I would want the right to sack them." 3AW host Ross Stevenson claimed he had been told 16 players from one AFL club were "made exempt from drug testing because of a mental health diagnosis." Former St. Kilda coach Grant Thomas "fueled the storm" by saying that he was told drug use was "rife" within his playing group more than a decade ago (HERALD SUN, 2/20).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
New Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter can "see big things" ahead of the game in this country but her first goal is "make a quick transition into the sport," according to Roy Ward of THE AGE. The current VicHealth CEO and Australian Football League side Western Bulldogs director will take on the CEO role from mid-March, succeeding Anthony Moore, who ended his four-year tenure last year, and interim CEO Paul Maley. She enters the organization just months before three of the biggest events in BA's history, starting with the Australian Boomers vs. Team USA games at Marvel Stadium in August, the FIBA World Cup in China and the Boomers and the Opals "chasing medals" at Tokyo 2020. Rechter, like those who have come before her, "sees a sport with major opportunities in front of it" but she wants to look over the state of the game first before "mapping out" how they can "make the most" of having world-class players like Ben Simmons and Liz Cambage along with an ever-growing participation base (THE AGE, 2/20).