Recreational drug use 'widespread' among English footballers, says professor

Drugs such as cocaine and marijuana are commonly used by England’s top flight footballers amid claims that the FA does not take drug-testing seriously, according to an expert in researching the use of drugs in sport.

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Professor Ivan Waddington, who works at the University of Chester, has spent decades analyzing the impact of drugs on sport. He says that the use of recreational substances is rampant among Premiership footballers, citing an anonymous survey conducted in 2005 with the Professional Footballer’s Association in which numerous players admitted to drug use.

READ MORE: When a drug dealer loves football: French police seize hash stash with Ronaldo images 

This comes after recent reports in which an England international footballer was allegedly asked to leave a nightclub after being found to have taken cocaine at his club’s pre-Christmas night out. The FA have said that they are investigating the matter and have asked witnesses to step forward.




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The FA doesn’t take drugs testing as seriously as it ought to,” Waddington told The Independent

And I certainly don’t think the football clubs take drug testing seriously as seriously they ought to. And again, individual clubs will deny that.

In both our studies the professional footballers told us that the use of recreational drugs is widespread. There can be no doubt about that. 

The recreational drugs which are most used are cocaine and marijuana. There’s no difficulty about picking up marijuana. The test is technically sound and there’s no difficulty about picking up cocaine. 

We know that large numbers of these players are using these drugs because they told us so why aren’t they being picked up?




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UK Anti-Doping conducted almost 2,000 drug tests on Premier League footballers last year, with six players failing for various recreational drugs. Per their policy, the names of those who failed were not released.

Meanwhile, the FA insists that instances of players failing drug tests are rare and they maintain that anyone with information about a player violating their anti-doping laws should report it to the relevant authorities.

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