Ben Cousins
Ben Cousins

Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert has branded the present approach to tackling drugs in football as 'uncoordinated' and has called for a united approach.

Pert initially raised his concerns at a meeting of club CEOs on the Gold Coast last week, and has called for a forum involving all clubs and the AFL to discuss new ways of tackling a problem he describes as the biggest in the game.

"I believe this is the biggest issue in AFL football. I can't see how we can ignore the health and well-being of our athletes," Pert told reporters at the Westpac Centre on Wednesday.

"The club's individually are tackling and dealing with (it).

"The Players Association have dealt with it, and they've got training and education programs. The AFL have a system in place, and obviously they've been dealing with it.

"But in a lot of ways it's an uncoordinated approach.

"We need to combine our resources and our information, work as a team. This is something that will be ongoing from this point on."

Pert insisted his feelings on the issue were based on media reports, not anecdotal evidence, and came despite the AFL's claims their testing procedures and three-strike policy are working.

"I've watched two players retire from their football careers, in Ben Cousins and Gavin Crosisca, they've come in as young men into a football environment, not being drug users and they've left addicted to illegal drugs," he said.

"I've watched Lance Armstrong destroy a sport because of his behaviour."

Pert said his idea had been warmly received by club CEOs when he tabled the concept of greater cooperation at last week's meeting.

"I think we need to establish a forum," he said.

"If you were to sit back and you look at the West Coast Eagles, and you see what happened to that club, I think it's appropriate as CEOs of the clubs, that we look at that and say that that can't happen again.

"We need to be making sure that we've got all the knowledge and we've got all the programs and we have the best practice from around the world, we're sharing ideas. It's an ongoing agenda item. I do stress this is something we'll be dealing with forever."


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