Drugs tarnish Lowestoft's Vase conqueror
ONE of the players who helped end Lowestoft Town's FA Vase dream failed a drugs test after the game, it was revealed yesterday.Traces of cannabis were found in a sample provided by Kirkham & Wesham midfielder Ged Smith after he had helped his team to a 2-1 victory over the Blues at Wembley in May.
ONE of the players who helped end Lowestoft Town's FA Vase dream failed a drugs test after the game, it was revealed yesterday.
Traces of cannabis were found in a sample provided by Kirkham & Wesham midfielder Ged Smith after he had helped his team to a 2-1 victory over the Blues at Wembley in May.
Goalscorer Matt Walwyn also undertook a drugs test after the game but his sample was clear - as were the samples of two Lowestoft players who were also randomly tested.
While cannabis is on the World Anti-Doping Authority's list of banned substances, it is not thought to be performance-enhancing.
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Lowestoft have yet to be officially informed of the positive test, but there is no suggestion they will take the matter further.
“In view of general drug problems it is a concern that any player should tarnish the success of his team by being found guilty,” a spokesman said.
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“It takes away the honour and prestige of winning the trophy and that's the regrettable thing about it all.
“It was such a great day out for everyone and it's such a shame that the persistent rumours about drugs should tarnish everything.”
Smith, 25 has now been suspended for five months by the club - who now play under the name AFC Fylde. The FA are conducting their own inquiry and the player has already had a lengthy meeting with FA officers at Lilleshall.
“It's very important we put a message out about our position on drugs,” said AFC Fylde president David Haythornthwaite.
“It was a unanimous decision from everybody who runs the club.
“We decided to suspend Ged Smith from playing football for the club until 1 January, 2009. By that time we will review his position.
“The FA will come back to us with their findings and they may recommend a longer ban.
“But we're very keen to work with them on rehabilitation and putting him through some programmes to help him with this problem which we're very supportive of.
“We don't want to cast anybody back on the slagheap of life and in any way we can help Ged with this we want to.
“But we want to send a clear message not only to past players, but also to existing and future players that we will not tolerate it.”
Haythornwaite has spoken personally to the player.
“We spoke to Ged and as you can imagine is very upset and very remorseful,” he added. “He has offered to walk away from the club but we've persuaded him not to do that. We said if you can clean yourself up and take care of yourself then we want to work with you.”
Haythornthwaite admitted the results of the drugs test had affected the spirits of the club.
“It has tarnished it a little bit but hopefully people will see that we've taken the right action,” he said.
“When you're running an amateur club it's very difficult to police what people do in their social life.
“What you do behind closed doors should remain private. But if you cross that line you know the consequences. We just have to make sure we can't afford to have anything like this happen to us again.”