Football: A fast refusal for new recruit: Robert Cole reports on the disgraced sprinter Jason Livingston's bizarre training session with Cardiff City

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The Independent Online
JASON LIVINGSTON, the British sprinter sent home from the Olympic Games for failing a random drugs test, was back on the training field, and back in the headlines, after a bizarre flirtation with Cardiff City yesterday.

The 21-year-old Shaftesbury Barnet sprinter, the European Indoor 60 metre champion and Britain's second fastest man over 100m, joined in with the reserve team's training session at Treforest. 'He asked if he could come and join us to do a bit of training because he was visiting a friend in the area,' Eddie May, the Cardiff City manager, said. 'He trained with the reserves, but I'm not interested in anything further, partly because the lad can't play football.'

Mystery surrounded how and why Livingston arrived to train with the Ninian Park club. He has been in Cardiff, where he has a girlfriend, for a number of weeks and has been staying with an athletics friend, the former European junior high hurdles bronze medallist, Paul Gray.

Gray made an approach to the City Youth coach, Steve McCrae, and suggested he ought to have a look at Livingston, who was a highly competent schoolboy player. 'Jason has always shown himself to be a pretty nippy player whenever we've played around,' Colin Jackson, his Cardiff-based British Olympic team-mate said. 'I heard that Paul had approached Cardiff on Jason's behalf and they invited him down for a trial. I think people should let him get on with what he's doing and not hold anything against him.

'He took whatever he took and he's paying the price for that in athletics. I don't think it should be held against him in another sport because, as the saying goes, 'once bitten twice shy'.'

Talk about Livingston having a trial in a reserve-team match next week appears to have been premature, especially as May insisted he had 'no background in football'. The club's financial controller, Rick Wright, also made it clear he had no future there. 'The moment the club knew who he really was he was asked to leave,' Wright said.

'While sympathising with his position, and wishing him well with his rehabilitation in his sport, the club doesn't want to send that kind of message out to its players and the thousands of youngsters in the Bluebirds club.'

Unless he can convince a Sports Council drugs inquiry that he did not use the anabolic steroid methandianone, traces of which were found in the random sample he provided on 15 July, Livingston will spend the next four years on the sporting touchlines.