Kenny’s positive drugs test ‘could be accidental’

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles    

Irish goalkeeper Paddy Kenny has been suspended by Sheffield United after testing positive for a banned substance. The 31-year-old will now face a disciplinary inquiry into the matter.

Kenny was tested after last season’s play-off semi final against Preston. The substance found in his blood was ‘ephedrine’ – a drug named on the World Anti Doping Agency’s list of forbidden substances.

Sheffield United’s website released this statement today: “We can confirm that Paddy Kenny has been suspended by the club.”

“This is an ongoing, confidential matter and as such we are unable to comment further.”

Ephedrine is mainly used as a stimulant and a decongestant. It is commonly used in medicine to counteract the common cold – with a form of it being used in ‘Sudofred’.

According to BBC Radio Sheffield, it is suspected that Kenny purchased a cough mixture in a pharmacy which contained the banned substance. If this proved to be the case then it would clearly have been an innocent mistake.

Due to ephedrine’s use as a medicine, it doesn’t carry an automatic ban like most other illegal substances. Bans imposed vary from a warning up to a 2 year ban.

Tests can be carried out to determine whether the presence of ephedrine was a result of medicine bought from behind the counter or was used in with the intention of performance enhancement.

Former Blades boss, Neil Warnock today spoke out in defence of his former number one: “Anybody who knows Paddy will tell you he wouldn’t have done this deliberately”

Warnock added: “There does seem to be a feeling that the FA will be looking to make an example of somebody but I hope it’s looked upon as a genuine mistake and he only receives a minimum ban.”

“He is definitely not a cheat.”

Famously, Diego Maradona was booted out of the 1994 World Cup after having being found to have ephedrine in his system. The football icon vehemently denied having taken the drug purposefully.

Maradona claimed the drug was found in a power drink his fitness coach had given him.

However this has been contradicted by other claims that that he was permitted by the organisers to compete while he used the substance to lose weight in order to maintain the prestige of the World Cup.

These claims have never been accepted by FIFA.

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