A LEAGUE TWO player has been banned from football for 14 months and had his contract ripped up for testing positive for cocaine after a match.
Accrington Stanley midfielder Paddy Lacey, 24, gave a urine sample following Stanley’s trip to Hartlepool United on November 22 last year which contained benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of the drug.
Lacey admitted breaching anti-doping rules and will be banned from December 15 2016 until February 14 2018.
He is thought to be the first professional footballer to fail an in-competition drugs test since Jake Livermore, then of Hull, tested positive for cocaine after a Premier League match against Crystal Palace in April 2015.
Livermore, now at West Brom, was suspended during the subsequent investigation but his ban was lifted in September of the same year.
An independent FA disciplinary commission heard how Livermore had been devastated by the death of his newborn son in May 2014 and had had no intention of enhancing his performance by the “one-off” taking of the drug.
The panel decided no ban was appropriate because of the “specific and unique nature of the circumstances”.
The maximum possible suspension for testing positive for cocaine in competition is two years.
A statement from Accrington Stanley said: “Stanley midfielder Paddy Lacey has been suspended by the Football Association for 14 months after admitting a breach of anti-doping regulations.
“The 24-year-old tested positive for a prohibited substance after the game at Hartlepool United in November 2016.
“He was immediately suspended by the club pending the outcome of the disciplinary action taken by the FA.
“Upon the completion of those proceedings this week, the club took immediate action and terminated the contract of the player.
“Accrington Stanley has strong values on anyone taking any prohibited substances and will always act in the strongest possible way to protect the integrity of the football club. There will be no further comment.”
In an earlier version of this story, we incorrectly captioned a picture of Accrington Stanley midfielder Paddy Lacey as a fellow Stanley player, Jordan Clark.
Mr Clark has nothing to do with the allegations contained in this story. We apologise to Mr Clark for any offence caused.