Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, has called for its members to receive greater education about the dangers of recreational drugs, writes James Shield.
Taylor issued his plea in response to confirmation earlier this month that three players, including Sheffield United’s Jose Baxter, tested positive for prohibited substances during either in or out of competition procedures.
“We’ve got to address our communications, a combined approach really from the PFA, from the clubs, from the FA, just to make sure the message is getting through and for players, no matter what or in what environment they are in, these ingredients can stay in their system and then can reveal a positive test,” Taylor said. “Whether it’s by mistake, unintentional, we don’t feel they are performance enhancing and I don’t think the players do that.
“But the list is there and it is down to the players at the end and we will have to address the players in all the particular circumstances and give them our full support. This is a real warning for the game.”
Baxter, who denies any wrongdoing, has been temporarily suspended. Together with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Aaron McCarey, he faces a maximum six month ban if the result is upheld. Jake Livermore of Hull City could be suspended for two years after traces of cocaine were found in his system during an in-competition test following a match against Crystal Palace last month.
“The education and regulations need to be enhanced, clearly,” Taylor said. “They have probably never appreciated the seriousness of what’s happened.
“We certainly can’t relax now. We have to look at the education and advisory service. They probably do not appreciate the consequences, not just for them and their careers, but for their families.”