Negative positives

Drugs in sport
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Football's crackdown on wayward young professionals has contributed to a big increase in the number of positive drug tests in British sport.

Training ground testing resulted in 13 positive findings in 1994-95, according to the annual report of the Sports Council's doping control service.

Eight of those linked players to marijuana, four to stimulants and one to narcotic use. Only powerlifting produced more positives - 16. But 13 of those were for anabolic steroid offences carrying long bans. Most of the footballers were either warned or assessed for rehabilitation.

Michele Verroken, head of the doping control unit, said: "The findings reflect the change in emphasis in testing in certain sports. Football has taken on this responsibility and we are looking for things there which we would not be looking for in other sports."

The report revealed 67 positives, up from 43 in the previous 12 months. There were seven positives in rugby league, three involving Australian players, and five positives in athletics, three of them for stimulants. One athlete who tested positive for diuretics had no action taken against him by his governing body.

A total of 4,374 samples were collected in 50 sports. The bill came to pounds 907,000.