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The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have congratulated the NRL and its clubs on their proactive step to protect the online welfare on their players through education seminars, while rejecting media reporting on a recent session at Manly.

The AFP issued the following statement:
“The seminars are conducted by the AFP’s High Tech Crime Prevention team, which also delivers online education initiatives such as the ThinkUKnow program to Australian schools.

“The initiative with the NRL is an extension of the AFP’s partnership with the NRL/Rugby League Player’s Association (RLPA) Education & Welfare program. The seminars focus on giving players advice about privacy on social networking sites and protecting their personal and financial information.

“The program was piloted when the NRL invited the AFP to give online safety seminars to each of the Under 20 Toyota Cup squads as part of the 2010 NRL Rookie Camps.

"Following positive feedback from players and clubs, the NRL invited the AFP to deliver the same presentation to every NRL team.

“The AFP rejects claims in an article in The Sunday Telegraph on 13 February, 2011, that an undercover AFP Federal Agent had been “flirting” and making “sexual advances” to players online, attempting to trick NRL players into releasing personal information.

“Since conducting these seminars, the AFP has adhered to the strictest confidentiality to ensure the privacy of players is not compromised. The AFP has not, and will not, discuss specific content of the seminars publicly.

“Additionally, the AFP member presenting these seminars is not a sworn officer and is not “hired” by the NRL as The Sunday Telegraph’s article claims.

“The AFP has welcomed the chance to cooperate with the NRL, which should be congratulated on taking the proactive step to protect the online welfare of its players. 

"Other sports such as AFL and rugby union have approached the AFP about conducting similar programs.

“Any suggestions that Manly players had acted inappropriately in any way during this education exercise is a complete misrepresentation of what was a positive experience for everyone.”