Chelsea unhappy over FA drug testing fine

August 31, 2006

Chelsea have accused the Football Association of wasting time and money in the case which led to a £40,000 fine and a warning for conducting private drug tests on players.

The Premiership champions were punished by an independent disciplinary commission of breaching the FA's doping control regulations more than two years ago - even though it eventually led to Adrian Mutu's positive test for a banned substance.

The FA do not want private tests conducted as they want the same rules to apply for each club, while also guarding against the possibility of cases being covered up or players testing positive being sold.

'The FA appears to be more interested in procedure than substance, wasting a huge amount of time and money on lawyers in a case that has taken two years to resolve,' read a statement from Chelsea.

'During this time hundreds of hours have been spent prosecuting a technicality when common sense should have been applied.

'The FA would be better served using its resources to increasing the effectiveness of its random testing and applying the toughest penalties available in all drug related cases, rather than punishing those who act genuinely in the fight against drugs.'

Chelsea revealed that the test they were punished for - which took place on July 12, 2004 - was negative and an FA-approved test requested by the club later that summer proved to be positive.

Mutu's positive test led to the striker being sacked before eventually joining Italian giants Juventus following a suspension, which Chelsea believe vindicated their decision to test.

Chelsea's criticisms came days after FA chief executive Brian Barwick claimed the organisation were in the 'home straight' over implementing changes recommended by Lord Burns.

The Burns report was published more than a year ago, but the FA have still not acted on recommendations to change their structure in an effort to reduce bureaucracy.

'Despite our efforts to find a sensible and speedy resolution, the issue became mired in a bureaucracy that makes a mockery of the claims that the organisation is modernising itself,' continued the Chelsea statement.

The FA, who conduct the most drug tests of any sport in the country, confirmed in a statement: 'Chelsea were charged in relation to the independent private drug testing the club conducted on some of its players on July 12, 2004.'