Mourinho 'shopped' Mutu to drug testers

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As Chelsea's Adrian Mutu yesterday admitted testing positive for cocaine on 1 October, it emerged that he was deliberately targeted by the doping authorities at the request of his manager, Jose Mourinho.

As Chelsea's Adrian Mutu yesterday admitted testing positive for cocaine on 1 October, it emerged that he was deliberately targeted by the doping authorities at the request of his manager, Jose Mourinho.

Mutu's admission may reduce the chances of a two-year ban. Under the Football Association's anti-doping rules, there is a chance the Romanian might not be banned at all, if "a period of assessment, counselling, treatment or rehabilitation" is deemed more appropriate.

With the FA clamping down on drug use, that is unlikely. Yet he may escape with a six-month ban due to his penitence. Mutu's decision not to have his "B" sample tested will count in his favour because it was a tacit confirmation of drug use.

One of Mutu's agents, Victor Becali, confirmed that Mourinho had effectively shopped his player by requesting the fateful test. "Mourinho asked for the test after Mutu failed to show up at training soon after the match against Paris Saint-Germain [on 14 September]," Becali said. "The test was held on 1 October. I think Mourinho's decision followed Mutu's bizarre attitude."

Becali said Mourinho had contacted him to talk about Mutu soon after succeeding Claudio Ranieri as Chelsea's manager in the summer. "Mourinho was fair when he called me to clarify Mutu's file, which Ranieri had given him," Becali said. "There were a lot of bad things about Mutu. I tried to make Mutu look better but I failed to persuade Mourinho."

Due to legal restrictions on what he could say, Mourinho was yesterday unable to elaborate on Mutu's case, but he made some general points about the need for professional players to "be aware" of what they could and could not do in their private lives. No one at Stamford Bridge will be under any illusions now about how seriously he regards disrespect for his rules.

Neither Chelsea nor the FA would comment on the subject yesterday. The Professional Footballers' Association confirmed, however, that it is seeking a swift hearing - and leniency - for Mutu, 25.

"Mutu's accepted that he did test positive for cocaine, and so we've got to deal with it under the social drugs procedure that we have in line with the FA," Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the PFA, said.

Taylor said a distinction was made between recreational and performance-enhancing drugs. "If the player accepts he is guilty and is prepared to undertake rehabilitation, to be checked regularly, to be clean, there is great sympathy towards the player," he said. He added that the World Anti-Doping Agency, is reluctant to make such distinctions, "so that may well create a problem."

Under Wada's rules, a two-year ban can be imposed for positive drug tests in any sport. The FA will also bear in mind the diktat from Fifa, football's world governing body, that drug offences should be dealt with seriously.

If the FA charges Mutu and finds him guilty the only remaining issue will be the severity of the sentence. FA rules dictate a minimum six-month ban for a first offence.

Mourinho confirmed that Mutu would not be fit for tonight's Champions' League match with CSKA Moscow. He had "no idea" when the player would be fit. Curiously, the Chelsea manager said he did not need to buy a new striker in the January transfer window. He prefers to have four strikers in his squad, and - with Mutu - currently has four. Presumably he either expects Mutu to be playing in January or hopes to recall Carlton Cole from his loan at Aston Villa.

The former Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, also drug tested at the request of the club, was sacked in 2003. If Chelsea sack Mutu, it would mean writing off the £15.8m they paid for him a year ago. "Bearing in mind that investment, they've as much interest in getting the player back on track as the player has himself," Taylor said.

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