Sheffield United and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Paddy Kenny has been hit with a nine month ban from football having failed a drugs test.
Traces of the banned substance ephedrine were found in a urine sample submitted by the 31 year old following a game against Preston back in May.
Kenny was suspended by United on June 4, and was later banned by the FA.
“The Regulatory Commission considered carefully the evidence and the submissions from both parties,” said Regulatory Commission chairman Christopher Quinlan after the hearing.
“Whilst we found that the player satisfied us on the balance of probabilities that the substance was not taken with the intention of enhancing sporting performance, his admitted conduct displayed significant fault.
“A professional sportsman, including a football player, has a strict responsibility to ensure prohibited substances do not enter his/her body.
“In this instance Mr Kenny knowingly ingested an over-the-counter medicine above the prescribed dosage without reading the accompanying package or leaflet and without reference to his club’s doctor or other medical staff.
“It is incumbent upon all professional footballers to understand the perils and dangers of so doing and to act in the way he did, contrary to the Doping Control Programme delivered by the FA and in any event what should be a matter of common sense for a professional sportsman, showed in our judgment a complete disregard for those responsibilities.”
The ban is backdated to July 22 this year, the date Kenny’s FA imposed ban began, and he will now be subject to ‘target testing’ for the next two years.
Sheffield United boss Kevin Blackwell defended his player, saying his was surprised at the severity of the punishement.
“Paddy is devastated and has gone home,” he said.
“He has a lot to think about because he’s banned completely from playing and training. I find it hard to believe the severity of the ban considering that it was accepted that the substance wasn’t taken for performance enhancement.
“There’s an appeals procedure and we will sit down and talk over the next few days and discuss the situation fully with all concerned.”