Aussie Rules anti-doping results remain private

Australian footballers win injunction extension

The Australian Football League and its players association, representing three footballers who failed a drugs test, has won an extension to an injunction preventing the media from disclosing their identities.

The AFL and the AFL Players Association argued in favour of continuing the order of the Supreme Court of Victoria that the players, who had failed a drugs test as a result of recreational drugs use, should not be identified in the media.

The original injunction followed the leaking of the drugs test results to the media. The Court accepted the argument of the players association & AFL that the drug testing system rested on a foundation of confidentiality and that the educative and rehabilitative objectives of the drugs programme would be disturbed by media interest. Players could be expected to be receiving counselling and it was not in the interests of their health or welfare to expose them. Confidence in the AFL drugs testing policy and players’ voluntary submission to it would be severely damaged by identification in the media, the players association argued.

The privacy injunction was upheld by the court, despite the fact that the identities of the players could be discovered on the internet and that The Sydney Morning Herald had published at least one of the names for several hours.