The career of the Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Bosnich was in the balance last night after it appeared that a second analysis of a drug test sample had also shown traces of cocaine.
The 30-year-old faces being sacked by the Stamford Bridge club and a possible two-year ban from football. Bosnich is due to hold meetings with Chelsea, the Football Association, which has been carrying out the tests, and the Professional Footballers Association, to discuss his future.
The player, who earns £40,000-a-week at Chelsea, is understood to have tested positive for the banned drug last month but the case was delayed because he was admitted to the Priory clinic in Roehampton, south-west London, to be treated for depression.
Bosnich also exercised the right for a second specimen to be examined and it is understood that tests took place at an International Olympic Committee-accredited laboratory in Paris this week. The first test was carried out at King's College, London. Technically, a positive test is not declared until the second sample is examined. An official announcement may not be made until after Christmas.
The FA last night refused to comment, while Chelsea, who have suspended Bosnich without pay, have been frustrated by the delay in dealing with the case. The goalkeeper has already been warned that his contract would be terminated if the second sample confirms drug-taking, although he will have the right to a personal hearing before an FA disciplinary commission before any suspension can be imposed.