FA to step up drug testing

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Football

The Association are to step up their fight against drugs by doubling the number of tests for banned substances.

Last season, there were a dozen positive results from 272 tests, with Tottenham's Chris Armstrong - then at Crystal Palace - Arsenal's David Hillier and Charlton teenager Lee Bowyer failing for cannabis.

Tranmere trainee Jamie Hughes received a suspended six-month ban after testing positive for amphetamines, while Arsenal's Paul Merson confessed he had used cocaine.

This month, Leyton Orient's Roger Stanislaus was banned for a year - and subsequently sacked - after using cocaine.

On Thursday it was revealed that the Huddersfield striker Craig Whitington was the first player to have failed two tests for cannabis. Brian Horton said preparations for today's FA Cup meeting with Wimbledon had been "distracted" by the Whitington announcement.

At a Lancaster Gate meeting yesterday with the Sports Council and Professional ers' Association, the FA agreed to increase their testing programme to 500 a season from the start of the new season in August. The number of visits to clubs by the FA and the Sports Council's drug control teams will be nearly trebled.

The new proposals will be presented to the Premier League and League and must also be ratified by the FA's executive committee. But FA chief executive Graham Kelly stressed: "We are determined to tackle the drugs problem forcefully."

n Frank Burrows could return to Swansea. The owner of the Second Division side, Doug Sharpe, yesterday confirmed that the proposed sale of the club to Michael Thompson would not take place and that he hoped to have Kevin Cullis's replacement in place for today's match between Swansea and Hull. Burrows could face competition from another former Swansea manager, Ian Evans.

Horton's Huddersfield, page 26

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