28 March 2017

FA publishes written reasons for Manchester City ‘whereabouts’ fine

England’s Football Association (FA) has published the written reasons for its decision to fine Manchester City £35,000 for breaching Regulation 14(d) of the FA’s Anti-Doping Regulations, which relates to ‘whereabouts’ information so that players can be located for testing. Under Article 2.4 of the World Anti-Doping Code, ‘any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures’ in 12 months constitutes an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV).

The FA’s written reasons reveal that on 7 December 2016, the FA Anti-Doping team conducted tests on members of the Premier League club’s reserve team, however six players were absent as they had been given the day off. This ‘filing failure’ constituted the third ‘whereabouts’ failure by the club within a 12-month period.

The first took pace on 22 July 2016, when the club failed to notify the FA about an additional training session for the first team on 12 July 2016. The second occurred on 15 September 2016 following a failed attempt to test players on 1 September, when an FA Anti-Doping team arrived at a hotel to conduct a drugs tests on a member of the first team squad at 7am. The hotel told the FA Anti-Doping team that the player no longer resided at the hotel, and it was found that the club had failed to ensure that the home address for the player was accurate as of 7 September.

AFC Bournemouth was also charged with the same offence less than 24-hours after Manchester City was fined £35,000. City’s Premier League rival was also fined £35,000 after admitting the offence. The written reasons behind that decision have yet to be published. The low nature of the fines in comparison to the revenue of Premier League clubs has prompted some to call for a more effective sanctioning regime to be introduced.

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