Ex-AFL club staffer 'not surprised' by drugs bombshell
LONG-TIME Port Adelaide staffer Dave Arnfield says the revelations of drug use and organised crime connections in Australian sport are scary and shocking.But Arnfield, who now runs a Cairns-based elite sports training company, admitted that the tit-for-tat nature of professional sport meant it was no surprise that the problems were not confined to one club or league.
A 12-month investigation by the Australian Crime Commission has revealed evidence of illegal drug use throughout Australian sport, facilitated by sports scientists, high-level coaches and sports staff.
Organised crime groups are also involved, with match-fixing and manipulation of betting markets the other concerning findings of the investigation.
Arnfield, who moved to the Far North three years ago, worked as senior fitness adviser, team runner, training and rehabilitation manager and corporate training and leadership co-ordinator during a 30-year association with the South Australian AFL club.
"It's scary stuff to think the AFL can succumb to this sort of thing, because imagine what could be happening in less-scrutinised competitions," he said.
"Everyone is searching for an advantage and rarely can a club keep those advantages to themselves."
Arnfield said during his time with Port Adelaide, players were swamped with information by the AFL on substance abuse and any thoughts of widespread cheating were hard to fathom.
"I was truly shocked, I'm just not sure how they have gone through the testing, because from what I've heard there would have been red lights flashing everywhere," he said.
He said every club would try to get the best out of their players, but that they were ultra-wary of playing by the rules.
"We used to give the players No-Doz for a caffeine hit, and we were sponsored by (supplement company) Musashi, but everything the players took was checked out first by doctors and all the staff were aware of what was going on," he said.
"I know that players trust all the medical staff at the club and have faith that what they're taking is OK. But ignorance is no excuse, so the book will be thrown at them. It's the players I feel sorry for.
"It's unbelievable, I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next."
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