Football: Drugs are last straw for Paille

Stephane Paille's career looked to be over last night as Heart of Midlothian ended his contract after he was found guilty of taking a prohibited drug.

Paille became the first player caught in almost a decade of random testing by the Scottish Football Association. He took Dinintel, which contains amphetamine, before a Premier Division game against Kilmarnock last month, later claiming it was to counter a weight problem.

But the SFA found the former French Footballer of the Year guilty of taking a banned substance and imposed a four-month ban from 19 July. That ban is now likely to be made world-wide after Hearts said Paille, who was involved in a cannabis case earlier in his career, had been released by the club.

The Scottish club signed him on a free transfer this season and he was man of the match in the Coca-Cola Cup semi-final victory over Dundee. The Scottish Professional Footballers' Association said Paille issue a statement through them today.

n Wrexham, Swansea and Cardiff compete against the League of Wales champions, Barry Town, in the new FAW Invitation Cup next season. The eight-team tournament will carry pounds 750,000 in prize money. Others taking part are the Merthyr Tydfil, Dr Martens Premier Division side, and the League of Wales clubs Bangor City, Conwy United and Newtown.

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