Football parent body wants to keep drugs out of the sport

Fiji FA chief executive officer Mohammed Yusuf. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Fiji Football Association is determined to clean the sport out of drugs by increasing the fines and suspensions of those who test positive.

The Fiji FA has decided to take a tough stance on drug cheats and as a result is also putting up mandatory fines for districts and clubs as well.

The parent body introduced the drug testing program in April 2017 testing players for cannabis which is commonly known as marijuana.

Fiji FA chief executive officer Mohammed Yusuf said the first tests were conducted for all the national teams.

Yusuf said since then, they had conducted 656 tests until the end of last month.

“From April this year we have received 35 positive results for all the tournaments and the national teams,” he said.

“This is a high number. There have been seven repeat offenders. Initially there was no fine in 2017 for the repeat offenders as they were given 30 days to retest and prove positive.

“But in 2018 we imposed a three-year ban and $500 fine for repeat offenders.

“This year we are a lot stricter. We now impose a three months ban and a $200 fine for the first offender. The districts or clubs are also fined $200.

“For repeat offenders there is a three-year ban and $1000 fine. The clubs and districts will also cop a penalty.”

The heaviest penalty dished out by Fiji FA for testing positive this year is a three-year suspension and $500 fine.

Yusuf said the drug problem was not only prevalent in football but the parent body had taken the lead role to clean up the sport.

He has urged other sporting bodies to follow suit.

“It is widespread in other sports as well, but Fiji FA has taken the lead role to clean up the sport,” he said.

“This is also assisting the Fijian Government’s stance to eradicate the use of illegal drugs in the country.

“The players must realise that drugs are not good for them and their families.

“Nobody who is addicted to this has come out as a winner.

“If football is something you love and it is your family’s livelihood, you have to rehabilitate yourself.

“We need the other major sporting teams to join us to fight against drugs and allow our young ones coming through to have a better life.”

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