Orient defender tests positive for cocaine

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Roger Stanislaus, a player of modest achievement, ensured his relative obscurity came to an end yesterday when it was revealed he has become the first professional footballer in England to test positive for cocaine.

The 27-year-old Leyton Orient defender has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association, who regard cocaine as performance-enhancing, and faces, if found guilty, a punitive and lengthy ban.

Traces of the drug showed up after he was selected for random testing after the Third Division match at Barnet on 25 November. Stanislaus has 14 days to request a personal hearing.

"We are looking to deal with it as quickly as possible," Steve Double, an FA spokesman, said. "Any traces of a performance-enhancing drug, particularly after a match, must be treated as a matter of the utmost seriousness. In this case, the test level of the sample is thought to be performance- enhancing and there is clearly a case to answer."

The FA, the players' union and drug experts have all taken the line of education and rehabilitation with most players who have failed tests. But, like Chris Armstrong of Tottenham, they have usually been found to be using cannabis, which has no effect on performance.

Paul Merson, of Arsenal, admitted using cocaine, but only socially. Jamie Hughes, a Tranmere trainee, was the first person charged with using a performance-enhancing drug, but he was caught in a training ground test and claimed a drink had been spiked. Stanislaus is unique in testing positive for cocaine immediately after a match.

David Burton, Orient's secretary, said: "The matter is in the hands of the FA and we are unable to comment." Asked if Stanislaus would continue to play until his case comes up, he said: "That is something we have yet to discuss."