Club chief executives are likely to be advised of a player’s second offence under revised regulations and they will not have to wait until a third positive test for using illicit drugs before official notification from league medical officers.
And an all-day forum at AFL headquarters in Melbourne on Wednesday looks certain to close a loophole in testing that will prevent players from voluntarily admitting to illicit drug use to avoid a positive test and strike against their record.
As many as nine cases of confession to avoid a drug test at just one AFL club are believed to have become known to league officials approaching the official forum of heavyweights.
All 18 AFL chief executives as well as league boss Andrew Demetriou and Player’s Association bosses Matt Finnis and Ian Prendergast are believed to be poised for a significant revamp of the drug code.
It is understood that the league’s influential Player’s Association body headed by president Luke Ball will agree to a change in a push for club chiefs to be alerted earlier than the current three strikes policy.
Players are believed to be willing to support substantial change, but do not want to be railroaded by club and league powerbrokers.
Under the current drug code process only club doctors and the offending player are made aware of the first two positive tests in the three-strike system.
Players who return a first or second strike remain confidential, with only a club's medical officer informed after a second strike as part of the remedial process against drug use.
A third positive test and strike brings a player an automatic 12-match ban and he is named publicly.
Former Hawthorn fringe player Travis Tuck is the only AFL player to have been banned for a third positive illicit drug strike.
He was suspended after his third strike on the edge of finals in September of 2010.
The latest drugs debate was sparked by Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert back in November when the Pies boss and decorated former player claimed the illicit substance use was at an alarming level.
League bosses have mounting concerns at potential use of illicit drugs by AFL players and especially in their annual leave period over October and November as well as the annual Christmas festive period away from pre-season training.
Pert rocked AFL circles when he declared that the league’s biggest problem heading into 2013 could be an alarming rise of illicit drug use socially by the league’s players.
Demetriou has already flagged an imminent increase in positive drug tests through the AFL from last season.
The league is expected to confirm an upward spike in positive tests and strikes for a number of players at a similar time as announcement of a revised AFL drugs code.
Only six positive tests were returned in each of the past two AFL seasons.
In 2010 the league conducted 1654 tests and 1489 in 2011.