Hughes critical as Uefa denies Wales

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The Independent Football

The disappointed Wales manager, Mark Hughes, yesterday criticised Uefa, the sport's Euopean governing body, for not making a clear stand against drug cheats in football. Hughes made his point after Wales failed in their attempt yesterday to have Russia thrown out of the Euro 2004 finals because the midfielder Yegor Titov failed a drugs test after the first leg of their play-off tie in Moscow last November.

Titov has been banned for a year and fined, along with his club Spartak Moscow, but Wales wanted Russia punished as well. However, Uefa's disciplinary body sitting in Nyon threw out the appeal because they claimed Wales had failed to prove that Titov was still under the influence of the drug in the second leg in Cardiff four days later, when he played for the first hour. Now the Football Association of Wales has until midnight on Friday to decide whether to lodge a further appeal following yesterday's hearing in Switzerland.

Hughes said: "Obviously I am disappointed, now we will have to look at the judgement to see where we go from here. I had hoped they would have taken the opportunity to send a message to everybody in our sport, but they have not taken that opportunity, rightly or wrongly, wrongly in my view."

The decision was explained by the Uefa spokesman Rob Faulkner, who said: "The disciplinary body reviewed the evidence of the FAW and felt there was a failure to provide evidence that the player was under the influence of any prohibitive substance during the second leg. That was the complaint from Wales about the second match. Uefa regulations are clear that the punishment applies to the player and not the team."