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Thursday, 9 April, 1998, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Snooker players drugs 'positive'
Three snooker players have failed random drugs tests and will be disciplined by the game's governing body next week.

But the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association has refused to name the guilty players.

Martyn Blake, company secretary of the WPBSA, said: "It would be wrong of us to name the players or the circumstances behind the positive tests before the players have each had a chance to put their case.

"Snooker was the first professional sport to introduce an official drugs testing policy back in April 1985. Our procedures are thorough and fair."

Directors David Taylor, Jim Meadowcroft and disciplinary chairman Bob Close will sit in judgement in Bristol.

News of the positive drugs tests came as a surprise to players competing in the British Open.

The latest controversy comes just 10 days before the start of the world championship, snooker's blue riband event, in Sheffield.

Snooker bosses, already heavily criticised for their running of the sport, are likely to come under fire again from their critics for taking so long to bring the guilty cuemen to book.

Ian Doyle, who manages 18 players including leading stars Stephen Hendry, Ken Doherty and Ronnie O'Sullivan, claims there is no widespread problem in the game.

"I don't think there is a drug problem in snooker for one minute," says theStirling-based businessman.

"I suppose it is inevitable in today's society that the odd player from time to time is going to get caught out.

"But when you compare our record with other sports snooker is miles better."

Despite Doyle's claims a number of players have been caught taking drugs.

  • Former world champion Cliff Thorburn was fined 10,000 and banned for two tournaments after testing positive for cocaine.

  • Fellow Canadian Kirk Stevens admitted an addiction to the same drug, while in 1994 Londoner Chris Scanlon was fined 195 after testing positive for cannabis.

  • Scotsman Billy Snaddon was fined 100 last summer after taking a cold cure which contained the banned substance pseudoephidrine.