Integrity name of the game

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 24 Februari 2013 | 14.43

AFL boss Andrew Demetriou vows to maintain the integrity of the sport. Source: Herald Sun

THE AFL has vowed to restore the trust it concedes some football fans have lost in the code, insisting it will rid the game of "rogue elements".

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou insisted the competition would not tolerate anyone who puts the integrity of the game at risk.

In an exclusive interview with Sunday Herald Sun columnist Shane Crawford, Demetriou rejected calls for his sacking from former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett.

"All of us want to have our supporters and our key partners believe in the game and live up to its values, and I think in the main that we do," Demetriou said.

"But it is sometimes the acts of individuals that taint great people at clubs, boards and players. The actions of a particular player at a particular club could taint the whole playing group, so what we have to do is live up to the values that we set ourselves."

Asked if he could understand why some supporters might be questioning the game after a tumultuous off-season, Demetriou said: "I certainly can, because in this organisation we pride ourselves on very, very strong core values, on being transparent, being honest, acting with integrity, acting with the right ethics.

"That's what the public expects. It is something that should apply in any organisation, any club, any business.

"We have drawn a line in the sand. We are going to put a stop to rogue elements at clubs and the insidious nature of some individuals who are trying to spoil it for the rest of the code. It is only a handful of people but it can cause significant damage.

"The public are entitled to be questioning the values of the code because they are wondering, given what has happened with the Melbourne, Adelaide and Essendon (investigations). I have said the issues of values, principles and ethics in the code are absolute non-negotiables."

Demetriou said clubs had been provided with a "road map" of warning signs - "things like ex-players, anti-ageing clinics, gyms and tattoo parlours".

He would not be drawn into criticism by Kennett, who suggested on Footy Classified that the AFL was being run on a culture of fear and intimidation.

 Kennett also said the AFL Commission had to start considering a time frame for change at the top of the AFL.

But Demetriou was adamant that he still had the fire in the belly to help restore the faith that some people might have lost in AFL football.

"I'm not distracted ... I'm not tired," Demetriou said of the criticism being levelled at him. "I am very excited about the season ahead.

"(And) I am very excited about the new people we are about to appoint and bring in to reinvograte the executive."

In his interview with the Sunday Herald Sun, Demetriou also said the AFL would ban the use of intravenous injections other than painkillers and would ensure the club doctor would be the sole person responsible for player treatment.

"There will be a ban on IV at clubs - not just on game day," he said. "We are implementing some very, very serious measures to restore treatments of players under one person and that is the club doctor."

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