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Scandal of top footballers' failed drug tests which are kept secret from fans

Mail on Sunday investigation finds information about footballers' positive recreational drug tests has not been made public

FA says there have been positive cases, but the information has not been disclosed

UK Anti-Doping, which carries out the tests, said it stopped publishing the information since the process fell outside its programme to detect performance-enhancing substances

The FA did not realise the information was no longer made public

The Football Association, whose chairman is David Bernstein, said there had been new, unreported cases during the past two-and-half-years, but would not give details.

However, a spokesman said that following the Mail on Sunday’s investigation it would now explore ways to make the information public.

The Mail on Sunday contacted all of the Premier League’s 20 clubs yesterday. Nine said they were unaware any of their players had been caught taking drugs, eight failed to respond and Reading, Sunderland and Manchester United refused to comment.

Until early 2010, UK Anti Doping (UKAD), the agency that leads the fight against drug-taking in sport, would routinely make public the details of every case in the UK when a footballer failed a test, both for performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.

Although the player and club were rarely identified, the substance involved, the date of the failed test and the length of any ban imposed would all be included in a database open to the public on UKAD’s website.

Even before UKAD dropped its policy of reporting recreational drug offences, critics claimed that the lack of transparency over identifying offenders allowed clubs to deceive fans by claiming that players banned over drugs were not playing because of injury.

The Channel 4 programme Dispatches revealed last year that in 2009 Birmingham City claimed its player Garry O’Connor had missed games because he needed an operation on a hip injury when in reality he had been suspended by the FA for two months after failing a drugs test for cocaine.

Dispatches claimed that UKAD, which was established in 2009, and its predecessor caught a total of 43 professional footballers using cocaine, ecstasy or cannabis.

Under current rules, footballers face two types of drugs tests. One is for the use of performance-enhancing substances during games, under which randomly selected players are required by UKAD to provide urine tests at full-time.

The other test is carried out on behalf of the FA specifically to unearth recreational drug use during the players’ leisure time, and often involve UKAD staff descending on clubs with little notice.

While the FA is not obliged to perform tests for recreational drugs, it says the practice is part of its wider responsibility to ensure the game is clean. Players who fail tests face an FA tribunal and punishments range from fines to bans.

After UKAD decided to stop reporting ‘recreational positives’ on its database, it also removed all past ‘social drugs findings’ as well.

A UKAD spokesman said: ‘It was considered inappropriate for UK Anti-Doping to continue to publish this information since it related to testing undertaken outside of the UK Anti-Doping Testing Programme, so it is not “our” information or data to publish or process.’

The FA, which claimed that it did not know that UKAD had stopped revealing the drug tests until approached by The Mail on Sunday, said it banned recreational drugs at all times because of the wider social implications.


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Thought it was common knowledge young Jack was on the sniff

And the inject. Its a mad life.

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