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"I have heard of a few cases" | Damien Delaney's insight on drug ban protocols in football

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

22:04 10 Dec 2019

Earlier this week, former Ireland striker Daryl Murphy revealed that he had once secretly served a six-week ban for recreational drug use.

"Firstly, I would like to stress that the taking of recreational drugs is something that I don't condone whatsoever," he said in a statement to The Athletic.

"I served a suspension at the beginning of last season for making a bad decision while on a night out.

"This was an isolated incident which happened out of competition when we had no game. I immediately regretted it."

Former Ireland and Crystal Palace defender Damien Delaney joined us on Off The Ball on Tuesday night. He discussed the protocols around drug-testing in elite-level football.

But first he explained that recreational drug use is not commonplace from what he has been aware of in his time in the Premier League.

"It's not commonplace. I have heard of a few cases over the years and knew of a couple of cases," he said, before explaining the protocol.

In And Out-Of-Competition

"So Daryl Murphy got a six-week ban, so he was obviously tested at the training ground. If you're testing on a Friday morning and you fail it, it's deemed non-competition.

"So you get a short ban. But if you're tested on a Saturday after a game, you're in competition. It's an automatic two-year ban.

"The protocol is that UK Anti-Doping only inform the club of the failure. And then it's up to the club to decide what they want to do with it - whether they want to go public or not.

"So that's why often these things never are made public. Because clubs will often protect the players. But I do know that when you get a ban, you're not allowed in the training ground.

"So often what happens is players will go back to their country of origin or sent to a special rehab clinic somewhere and they say, 'Oh, he has a back injury and he's going back to wherever he's from' or going to a special clinic in another country for example. And he's just sent away for six weeks. [The club] just keep it all in-house."

Delaney also discussed how prevalent testing is in elite football.

"Very regularly. There were periods there where you could be tested eight times a season," he explained.

You can watch Damien Delaney's full discussion on the issue above via our YouTube channel.

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