Saturday 29 April 2017

Manchester City player missed drugs test last September over hotel mix-up

Manchester City were fined for breaching anti-doping regulations CREDIT: PA
Manchester City were fined for breaching anti-doping regulations CREDIT: PA

James Ducker

A Manchester City first-team player missed a drugs test last September because the club had failed to inform anti-doping officials of his correct whereabouts, it has emerged.

City were also issued with a written warning three weeks before breaching anti-doping rules for the third time in less than five months last year.

The details emerged on Friday when the Football Association published the written reasons behind City’s £35,000 fine last month after the club admitted flouting anti-doping regulations under the “three strikes” rule.

The news came on the same day City accepted an FA charge for failing to control their players during last Sunday’s Premier League game against Liverpool and Uefa fined the club £15,573 for incidents arising from the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie at home to Monaco last month.

According to the FA disclosures, a first-team City player – whose identity remained unclear on Friday night – missed a drugs tests on Sept 1 last year because the hotel address provided by the club was no longer correct.

City said they believed they had grounds to challenge the hotel mix-up but the FA rejected this and the club opted not to contest the matter.

Two months earlier, City had failed to inform the governing body of an extra first-team training session on July 12. The final breach occurred on Dec 7 when anti-doping officials were unable to test reserve team players because six of them had been given the day off without the FA being told.

This happened despite the FA writing to City on Nov 14 to remind them that clubs must notify the governing body if five or more players in a squad are given a day off from a scheduled session. City had also been warned in writing of their duties after the second strike in September.

City informed the FA that the two breaches relating to training sessions were “administrative errors” arising from the club’s new management team under Pep Guardiola being unfamiliar with the processing system.

City’s acceptance of guilt was welcomed by the disciplinary panel and resulted in a smaller fine being issued than it was “minded to impose having noted all the other applicable considerations”, but the club were still criticised for failing to heed repeat warnings.

“It is no less concerning that in this case, despite the club being made aware of their breaches on two previous occasions [and] the resources available to the club, they failed to deal with these and implement a system to correct this,” the panel said.

Meanwhile, City have yet to decide whether to contest Uefa’s charge, which related to a pitch invasion, objects being thrown and a late kick-off on Feb 21, when they beat Monaco 5-3.

It is thought Monaco fans threw objects near Kevin De Bruyne when the City midfielder was about to take a corner in the 3-1 second-leg defeat in Monte Carlo although it remains to be seen if Monaco face action from Uefa over the incident.

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