Collingwood deny spying on players to see if their using recreational drugs
Collingwood deny spying on players to see if their using recreational drugs

Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert has denied his club has resorted to spying on players to see if they're using recreational drugs.

A Fairfax media report claims "a number of AFL clubs have resorted to covert intelligence" to monitor the off-field behaviour of their players.

Fairfax says some clubs use police contacts and even private detectives to track their players, while also checking with hotels and nightclubs.

The report did not identify the clubs involved and Pert said it was not a policy the Magpies employed.

But he did say all clubs would take very seriously any tips from police or the community about players taking illicit drugs.

"I haven't heard of any surveillance by clubs. It hasn't occurred at Collingwood since I've been been there," Pert told a media conference on Friday.

"I would say that clubs are taking reports from the community, from police very seriously when we hear or behaviour issues of our players.

"Over the last two or three years the clubs have needed to understand that and that goes right to your leadership group as well.

"The player groups ... need to understand what's happened and the background and the clubs will do what's required to find out that information.

"But surveillance stuff - I've never heard of it."

Debate continues over the league's policy on illicit drugs after ex-Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett savaged Wednesday's drugs summit which produced no immediate changes.

The three-strikes provision of the policy will remain after it was backed by all clubs.

Any further recommendations for change - including the contentious issue of when to alert club bosses a player has been caught using drugs like ice and ecstasy - will be left to a working party of three club chief executives, AFL medical officers, the AFL Players Association and outside medical experts.

"We're very proud of the fact we've been pro-active in the involvement of what was put together for Wednesday," Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said.

"A lot of information was put out in the open that many of the stakeholders may not have been aware of the realities of other stakeholders within it.

"So there's been a lot of talk and right now you're looking forward to see the actions that are going to come from that.

"We want to win games of footy but we want to produce good people and very mature people as well."

Buckley said it would be a tricky situation if he felt the need to approach a player regarding suggestions of drug use.

"The trick is to build a relationship with people and a trust within the environment of a football club that you believe you can be able to have those hard conversations about anything, on-field and off-field," he said.

Collingwood have announced a three-year, multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal with Holden. The Magpies have parted ways after a decade-long involvement with Lexus, who were the original sponsors of the club's office base at Olympic Park.

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