The art of ethics and the art of sports governance


The Australian Football League (AFL) is the premier sporting competition in Australia in terms of capital outlay, breadth of industry associations, public consumption, and arguably cultural significance. The AFL competition is now a domain of interdisciplinary specialisations and interests, which provide vast opportunity for both sporting and non-sporting institutions seeking to utilise the game to capitalise on a society of consumption, entertainment and risk. AFL officials expect high standards of their players both on and off the field. These standards are employed in various forms in the expression of Codes and Policies. However, the AFL governance is deficient on several counts. In this paper I will focus specifically on two governance deficiencies, namely, the promotion of gambling and on the development and inconsistency of its Illicit Drug Policy (IDP). I will argue that the AFL Commission is negligent and irresponsible for allowing the promotion of gambling during the broadcasting of games and furthermore for developing an ill-conceived and inconsistent IDP. The ethical grounds central to this investigation are ‘Fairness’ and ‘Cultural Influence’.


AFL governance; damage control; live odds gambling, virtue ethics, governance, player conduct, Illicit Drug Policy, cultural influence


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