Peterborough United defender Jake Yorwerth is facing a four-year ban for dodging an anti-doping test after taking cocaine, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
The report suggests Yorwerth is facing the ban following a FA hearing in which he admitted using the drug.
The report claims testers turned up at the twenty-three-year-olds house in September, and Yorwerth had used cocaine the previous weekend. He made the decision not to answer the door, wrongly believing that a positive test could result in a two-year ban when in reality it would have been only three months and he could also have kept his anonymity.
The Mail says the Welsh defender’s failure to open the door led to a FA hearing at Wembley last week where the player received the much longer mandatory four-year ban for test evasion. The rules on test avoidance were strengthened in the wake of the Rio Ferdinand case when the Manchester United and England player served an eight-month ban for missing a scheduled test in 2003.
Yorwerth does have the right to appeal the yet unconfirmed ban which is thought to be the longest in English professional football history for an anti-doping offence. The report quotes a FA spokesman saying ‘This is an ongoing case so it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time.’
Yorwerth has made just three appearances for Posh since signing from Crawley in the summer for an undisclosed fee. He has not featured at all since September with Posh citing personal reasons for his absence. In December the FA announced he faced a doping charge.
Peterborough declined to comment on the story in the Mail, but the Peterborough Telegraph is reporting that the club will make a statement later today.
A four-year ban will effectively deprive Yorwerth of his peak years as a professional footballer.
While I am not an apologist for drug taking, and Yorwerth has been very stupid, there does appear to be a lack of education and care taken with young well-paid footballers.
A more reasonable punishment in my view would be to reduce the ban if the player agreed to a drugs rehabilitation programme and voluntary drug awareness work in schools and prisons etc.
I understand that there need to be deterrents but there has to be a balance between punishment and education and the FA and PFA should be doing more to tackle a problem that is probably more widespread than is commonly acknowledged.