Chelsea to contest FA misconduct charge over Mutu drug test

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The Independent Football

The FA does not allow players to be tested independently in case it leads to incidents where clubs could try to cover up drug usage by squad members. Chelsea insist they are in the right morally and will strongly contest the charge, which relates to 12 July last year when the club tested a number of players at pre-season training. Rumours had been circulating about Mutu but in order not to arouse his suspicions the club tested several players. All tests proved negative but Chelsea insist that had any been positive they would have informed the FA - who three months later carried out their own test on Mutu, which was positive.

There is no suggestion that Chelsea, who have also had goalkeeper Mark Bosnich test positive for cocaine within the last three years, have attempted any sort of cover-up but they have have been charged with breaching regulation 1(e) of the FA's doping control regulations.

The rules state: "The independent private testing/screening of players by clubs, club officials or any other person subject to Football Association Rules is prohibited. Such testing/screening will be regarded as conduct that would interfere with the Football Association's doping control programme... and penalties may be imposed accordingly...".

Chelsea have until 23 September to respond to the FA charge. They are thought to be very unhappy that their independent test has been made public: it came to light in the Mutu disciplinary hearings last year, which were held behind closed doors. The club confirmed in a statement that they will contest the charge, saying: "Chelsea has seen the FA charge issued today and will defend it vigorously. The club feels that it has done nothing morally wrong. The date and tests in question directly relate to the Adrian Mutu case. This test of 12 July proved negative. Subsequently, the same player failed an FA approved drugs test for cocaine and his contract with Chelsea was terminated. During the hearing into this failed test he also admitted to taking this Class A drug on several occasions. Chelsea is absolutely committed to the fight against drugs in football. We believe we have demonstrated this by our actions and would never attempt to contravene any rules in order to cover up drugs in sport. We have made it clear we will adopt a zero-tolerance policy to anybody who fails a drug test and rejects the chance of help and rehabilitation when offered by the club."

Bosnich was sacked by Chelsea in January 2003, but still insists his drink was spiked, although he has admitted taking the drug on occasions since then.