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In this chapter three governance issues that concern the AFL are discussed. Firstly, through an examination of the AFL IDP it was argued there are unnecessary inconsistencies relative to its primary purpose. The inconsis- tencies are threefold. Firstly, there is an inconsistency regarding the three- strike rule non-disclosure clause. An offending player's positive testing information is withheld from his own club until a third strike has been recorded. I argued that this works to hamper the club's intervention capa- city to assist the player and is counter-productive to all clubs' expenditure and resources towards minimising risky behaviour. Secondly, it is unfair that AFL players are granted privileges not generally extended to other members of the public for illicit doping transgressions. That is, an inconsis- tency exists relative to differing jurisdictions within Australia and their respective drug diversion programmes, and the process for AFL players under its IDP. Thirdly, an examination of the self-reporting mechanism to escape a strike was found to be counter-productive to its intended purpose.

The second issue of concern is specific to player character development relative to the AFL's own expectations. Present measures undertaken to ensure players have appropriate education to achieve the expected character development were found to be inefficacious given the doping scandal sur- rounding the AFL and other ongoing unsavoury player civil misconduct. An explanation was offered as to why the AFL should be characterised as a practice-community and why it should adopt a comprehensive virtue and value-based compliance ethical education programme consistent with its own vision and conduct expectation of its players and officials. When the AFL is properly situated within a practice-community framework it becomes much more than simply a game, given its cultural influence, com- mercial associations and community programmes. The endeavour to achieve and even extend the standards of excellence for the playing and coaching fraternity are internal goods yet in addition to their achievement the practice also serves as an important cultural example. These standards of excellence therefore are sensible and legitimate only within the context of shared purposes, values and acceptable means within a sport practice community.

Finally, an examination of the promotion of live-odds gambling during televised games is found to be culturally problematic and inconsistent with its own demands against players and AFL officials. The ethical grounds supporting this argument were also based upon 'fairness' and 'cultural influence'. Firstly, it is not fair to the children and parents who watch foot- ball on television to be exposed to the barrage of gambling advertisements. Secondly, in terms of the AFL's cultural influence on wider society it con- tributes to fuelling the formative attitudes that gambling is part of the game and therefore harmless and fun. I further argued that by endorsing gambling the AFL contradicts its own zero-tolerance approach to gambling from its own fraternity of players and officials.


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