Kenny drugs appeal turned down

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The Independent Online

Sheffield United keeper Paddy Kenny's appeal against a nine-month drugs ban has been dismissed by the Football Association.

The 31-year-old, who was handed the suspension last month after failing a doping test, challenged the severity of the punishment, but has failed in his efforts to have it reduced.

An FA statement said: "The Appeal Board dismissed the appeal by Mr Paddy Kenny against his nine-month suspension for a breach of the FA doping regulations.

"The Regulatory Commission's decision to impose a nine-month suspension was an appropriate measure of the seriousness of the offence."

Kenny was handed the ban after a routine urine sample taken following the Blades' Coca-Cola Championship play-off semi-final clash with Preston in May was found to contain traces of the banned substance ephedrine.

He was suspended by his club in June and then by the FA the following month, and his punishment was handed down after a regulatory commission hearing last month.

Kenny, who admitted the charge, told the commission he had taken tablets bought at a chemists to help with a chest infection prior to the Preston game.

He was cleared of cheating, but banned from playing for nine months, back-dated to July 22, the day the FA's suspension came into force.

Kenny's representatives, with the backing of the Professional Footballers' Association, argued at today's hearing the sanction was disproportionate as he had not used the medicine to enhance performance.

Responding to the decision, Blades boss Kevin Blackwell told the club's official website, www.sufc.co.uk: "We are very surprised by the outcome. At this stage, we do not understand why it has been decided."

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