Kenny fears for career as ban appeal fails

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The Independent Football

The Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny fears for his future career, after the Football Association dismissed his appeal against a nine-month drugs ban yesterday.

The 31-year-old, 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. In a statement, Kenny said: "I am devastated that an honest mistake on my part could cost me my career. I would like to thank Sheffield United for their support throughout. I am positive I will bounce back, and I really hope that this experience will stop others from making the same mistake."

Kenny was handed the ban after a routine urine sample taken following the Blades' Championship play-off semi-final game 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. He was cleared of cheating but banned from playing for nine months, back-dated to 22 July.

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

Responding to the decision, the Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell said: "We are very surprised by the outcome. We do not understand why it has been decided."