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Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Piper handed four-month drugs ban
Keith Piper
Piper has played almost 450 matches during his career
Warwickshire wicket-keeper Keith Piper has been banned for the rest of the season after failing a drugs test.

Piper tested positive for cannabis during a County Championship match against Glamorgan last month.

"I'm determined to tackle this issue head on and show everyone I've let down that I can make up for it," he said.

An England and Wales Cricket Board statement said Piper must take another drugs test before playing again and six more in the following 18 months.

Piper's sentence was condidered appropriate by Warwickshire, who promised to stand by him through a "difficult period".

"We feel that Keith Piper's punishment is appropriate and that it sends out the right message to current and future players," chief executive Dennis Amiss said in a statement.

"While it is dangerous to draw distinctions between types of drug misuse, and certainly not excusing it, the club considers that Keith's offence is at the lowest level.

"However, Keith's positive test for use of a recreational drug lets down both the County and the game.

We are determined to ensure that drugs do not enter cricket and intend to use all possible powers to achieve this
ECB anti-doping regulations

"We will now work with the ECB and the Professional Cricketers' Association to support Keith."

It is Piper's second cannabis-related offence - he was suspended for one match and fined 500 in 1997.

The new ban, which will last until 30 September, applies to any match or competition played under the auspices of the ECB.

"Of course I'm disappointed that I won't be playing cricket again this season, but I hope to be back to coaching in October and on the field again next season if Warwickshire will have me," said Piper.

The 35-year-old, who has spent his entire career at Edgbaston and toured India and Pakistan with the England A team in 1994-5, appeared before a disciplinary panel two weeks ago.

"The panel took account of all the circumstances of the case and of the fact that Piper had admitted his involvement with cannabis at the first opportunity," the statement said.

Piper has agreed to attend a drugs counselling course and will also pay 250 towards the cost of his hearing.

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers Association, promised Piper whatever support he needed over the next few months.

"With many years dedication to the game, Keith now finds himself in a very unfortunate position," said Bevan.

"The PCA has a clear policy on drug use and we will continue to educate our members on cricket's anti-doping regulations.

"We will support Keith with whatever rehabilitation may be necessary and in common with other former cricketers, help him explore avenues through which others might be able to benefit from his wealth of experience."

Piper is the second Warwickshire player in trouble for failing a drugs test in the space of seven months.

All-rounder Graeme Wagg was suspended for 15 months last October after testing positive for cocaine and his contract was terminated by the club.




SEE ALSO
ECB defers final Piper punishment
12 May 05 |  Warwickshire
Piper to face disciplinary panel
11 May 05 |  Warwickshire


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