League of Ireland player Brandon Miele has said he does not plan to appeal his two-year ban from football for a breach of anti-doping rules, although he feels the punishment is “very severe”.
The former St Patrick’s Athletic winger has also insisted he has never taken any banned substances.
Miele has received the ban for “refusing or failing” to submit a full sample in a post-match drugs test conducted following St Pat’s Premier Division game with Sligo Rovers last April.
Announcing the decision today, Sport Ireland and the FAI said: “Mr. Brandon Miele has been sanctioned by the imposition on him of a period of ineligibility of two years commencing on the 9th of September 2019. Following his participation at a match on the 19th April 2019, he committed a violation of Article 2.3 by not submitting to Sample collection after notification and did not have a compelling justification for doing so.”
As part of a lengthy personal response, issued through the footballers’ union, the PFAI, Miele explained that as an unused substitute for Pats in the game, he had been randomly selected for a post-match drugs test.
“As I had already urinated twice over the course of the match, I found it difficult to provide a sample,” he said.
“While trying to do so, I was informed by my partner, Sinead, that my daughter had fallen and hit her head. Over a period of two hours while attempting to comply with the requirements of the testers, my partner became increasingly concerned about the health of my daughter and contacted me continuously to ask me to return to care for her.
“While some confusion arose as to whether or not she had been brought to hospital, it became apparent to me that it would be necessary to leave the testing centre to be with my daughter, who has a history of health problems in her short life to date, including one period of intensive care detention.
“After two hours of trying everything to provide a sample including drinking copious amounts and walking on cold floors in bare feet, I was only able to provide a partial sample.
I had reached such a state of agitation and confusion as a result of my daughter’s health at this point that I felt I must leave to be with her. I was not aware at the time of the consequences of leaving at this juncture but felt my first obligation was to my family.
The player concedes he “was not sufficiently aware of the rules or penalties that follow a failure to provide a full sample”.
“I do believe that the sanction of two years is very severe having regard to the dilemma I faced and having regard to lesser bans for people who have been found guilty of taking a banned substance but I must accept the decision of the tribunal.
“I realise that I have the option to appeal but given the possibility of an even longer ban and my desire to put this episode behind me, I do not intend to do so.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, I did not at that time take, and have never taken, any banned substances.”