The news that Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho is under investigation for failing a drugs test, should resonate north to the corridors of power at Hampden Park.
The French international failed a drugs test following Liverpool’s Europa League win over Manchester United last month, after testing positive for a type of fat burner.
While no disciplinary proceedings have been opened up on Sakho yet by UEFA, it is another drugs issue within the English game.
Since 1995, eight players have tested positive for drugs in the English game – these include Lee Bowyer [Cannabis], Mark Bosnich [Cocaine], Adrian Mutu [Cocaine], Abel Xavier [Anabolic Steroid], Paddy Kenny [Ephedrine], Kolo Toure, Jake Livermore [Cocaine], Jose Baxter [Ecstasy]. Rio Ferdinand was also banned for eight months for missing a drugs test.
Despite these players testing positive for drugs, the use of them by players or at least those tested seems to be few and far between. But that doesn’t mean the use of drugs is not rife, drug use in society is a major problem and football is not immune to that fact.
And yet here in Scotland, the Scottish FA claim that there is not a drug issue in our game, despite only testing eight players in the space of nine months!
How can the Scottish FA claim that we don’t have a drug problem when there is no regular drug testing? Possibly they were using a synthetic urine kit to pass any kind of urine test. Not sure what it is? Then checkout this guide for newbies on what is synthetic urine kit and how to use that for pass any drug test.
The whole issue has been embarrassing for the Scottish FA and the lack of testing was over funding, rather than drug use in our game not being an issue.
Despite their claims, former Partick Thistle player Jordan McMillan was banned for two years for testing positive for cocaine following a game against Celtic in December 2014.
According to the BBC, the Scottish FA ‘privately insists highlights the effectiveness of their “intelligence-led” testing policy’. But it is known that McMillan was reported for drug use eight months before he was actually tested positive – but because he was injured he was never tested. Why not? Because the Scottish FA have not tested players out of competition in three years.
So when UKAD declare’s drug use in Scotland ‘low risk’ that equates to the Scottish FA cutting their costs by reducing drug tests to next to nothing.
At the time of the news breaking over the Scottish FA’s lack of drug testing, UKAD’s chief executive Nicole Sapstead said: “Is it important? If it is, then put your hand in your pocket and start paying towards your programme. We as an organisation can only do so much.”
Between the period of April to December 2015, when there were only eight tests conducted in the Scottish game, English football conducted 1,582 tests and Scottish Rugby held 103 tests.
So while the Scottish FA claim that our game is ‘clean’ they are only basing that on their ‘intelligence’ and cannot claim that it is 100% clean. Maybe if they adapted their methods of gathering information they might find something. Why not look at browser history, see if there are any players going to https://syntheticurinereview.com or looking up how to hide drug use, they could identify players who are likely to be using. Then they could target those specific players based on evidence, and test them, it could save money.
Former Scottish sprinter Drew McMaster claimed earlier this month that he knew of at least four rugby players and two footballers in Edinburgh who ‘restored to doping’ in the 1980s. On top of that three rugby players have tested positive for banned substances since 2010 and who would have believed that Lance Armstrong or Maria Sharapova would test positive for banned substances?
Just because the Scottish FA’s ‘intelligence’ says that the sport is clean, doesn’t mean it is. Sakho’s positive drug test should serve as a warning to our game to up the anty on the random drug tests from the top flight down to the lower echelons of the game.
Whether players are using performance enhancing drugs or recreational ones – we need to make sure that the integrity of our game is clean for sure – rather than thinking it is. Time for the Scottish FA to dip into their pockets and spend the money necessary.