SHEFFIELD UNITED and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Paddy Kenny has been handed a nine-month ban from all football after failing a drugs test.
A routine sample of Kenny’s urine taken after the Blades‘ clash with Preston in May 2009 was found to have traces of banned substance ephedrine present.
This led to United suspending the player on June 4 and he was then banned by the Football Association.
Kenny admitted the charge and a Regulatory Commission hearing yesterday ruled that the Republic of Ireland international would be suspended for a nine-month period, back-dated to July 22 when the Football Association’s ban took effect.
The Regulatory Commission chairman Christopher Quinlan said after the hearing: “The Regulatory Commission considered carefully the evidence and the submissions from both parties.
“Whilst we found that the player satisfied us on the balance of probabilities that the substance was not taken with the intention of enhancing sporting performance, his admitted conduct displayed significant fault.
“A professional sportsman, including a football player, has a strict responsibility to ensure prohibited substances do not enter his/her body.
“In this instance Mr Kenny knowingly ingested an over-the-counter medicine above the prescribed dosage without reading the accompanying package or leaflet and without reference to his club’s doctor or other medical staff.”
Kenny will also be subject to ‘target testing’ for the next two years.
Blades boss Kevin Blackwell described the ruling as “harsh”, adding that the club’s legal advisers would assess their options soon.
He said: “We know Paddy’s not a drugs cheat and they’ve accepted that.
“We’re just considering our options. We think nine months for a mistake out of a medicine chest seems harsh.
“This case shows that before a player takes anything out of his medicine cabinet he has to check it intently.
“We’ll consider our options. It was a long day and at the end of it they accepted it wasn’t taken to enhance sporting performance. If you’ve got a bad chest and you take something to relieve pain it isn’t going to make you quicker, faster, taller.”
Blackwell added: “Players have to take responsibility for their lives and actions but new regulations which have come in in the last couple of years mean a player can be pulled in at any time. If you’re not feeling well, make sure you check every detail (with medicines) because the ramifications for anyone caught breaking the rules are very severe.
“It’s a lesson for every professional footballer and athlete now, with the Olympics coming up, they’re very hot on it... I think you’ll see the authorities really clamping on it.
“They (the FA) accept he didn’t take it as a performance-enhancing drug.
“He’s devastated – to lose any part of your career is particularly hard. We’ll have a chat about it tomorrow and see what we can do.
“My thoughts are with Paddy because to do something as innocent as that and get punished... it’ll take some getting over.
“He can’t train with any professional club. There’s a lot for him to take on board. His contract runs out at the end of the season, so a lot of things are going on in his mind.”
As for any appeal, the Blades boss added: “That’s down to the legal people.”
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