Busselton Football Club tackles illicit drug use

Graphic: Ash Pearce and Doug Green.
Graphic: Ash Pearce and Doug Green.

THE Busselton Football Club have discussed drug testing the playing group in an effort to curb illicit drug use in the community.

After Busselton police recorded an 11.1 percent increase in illicit drug detection last financial year in Busselton, the club is determined to get on the front foot.

Busselton Football Club vice president Paul Dugan said the club had zero tolerance for illicit drugs.

He said the club has already been working towards a drug free environment with education programs.

Mr Dugan said drug awareness and mental health people had come into the club to talk to the players.

“The senior players have really driven this,” he said.

Busselton Football Club league captain Daniel McGinlay said a bottom up approach to developing players was important.

“We have player only meetings to discuss issues and set the standard for the club,” he said.

He said this was important to achieve more professionalism from the players.

While the players have talked about the impact of illicit drugs and alcohol, drug testing has not come up in their meetings, Mr McGinlay said.

“The leadership group has pointed out that we don’t want team mates going out to play if they have not prepared themselves properly,” he said.

Mr McGinlay said illicit drugs had an impact on regional sports as well as the community and it was good to see the Busselton Football Club take a proactive approach to eliminate it.

The South West Football League president Kevin Lynn said the Busselton Football Club had not approached the league about drug testing.

"We would check our jurisdiction and if an investigation were to be carried out we would cooperate and assist in any way we can," he said.

WA Football Commission general manager pathways and competitions Steve Hargrave said the commission was committed to a drug free football environment.

“Drug testing is currently conducted by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) in professional and semi-professional football competitions, which in WA includes the AFL and the WAFL,” he said.

ASADA follows the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) when it comes to prohibited substances.

The 2014 WADA Prohibited List International Standard includes methamphetamine and cannabis which are classed as a stimulant and cannabinoid.

Mr Hargrave said the penalties handed down by the WAFL Anti-Doping Tribunals sent a strong message to football players at all levels.

“The WAFC believes the emphasis for football clubs, particularly community clubs, must be on all-of club education and awareness about the harm and consequences of using prohibited substances,” he said.

The strong stance by the Busselton Football Club coincides with Onshore Cup footballer Ryan Pearson who was charged last week for three counts of possessing a prohibited drug with intent to sell and supply and two counts of possessing a smoking implement.

Earlier this month Busselton police said they found two tick lists, amphetamine, tablets and a smoking implement in Pearson’s home and car.

He will reappear in court on September 15.

Pearson had his Busselton Football Club membership revoked last year and has now been stood down from the Capel Kakkas Onshore Cup team.

The Onshore Cup is an amateur football league which includes Busselton, Capel, Nannup and Dunsborough teams.

Capel coach Brett Pitt said the club was not aware of Pearson’s charges until this week, but had to take a strong stance.

“We do not condone illicit drugs in this club and we will stand him down,” he said.

Mr Pitt said he was proud of the positive and family orientated atmosphere which had been created at the club.

This story Busselton Football Club tackles illicit drug use first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.