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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK
What next for Mutu?
By Stuart Roach and Mandeep Sanghera

Adrian Mutu's decision to come clean over his failed drugs test has ultimately cost him his job.

Chelsea's decision to sack the Romanian international striker means he has the dubious honour of joining shamed Blues goalkeeper Mark Bosnich in being dismissed through cocaine abuse.

Yet Mutu's frank admission that he did take drugs could provide the silver lining in an awful year for the player.

Here, BBC Sport takes a look at the circumstances which will affect the hearing's decision over the Chelsea striker's fate.

DISCIPLINARY HEARING

The Football Association's disciplinary committee will oversee a hearing into the circumstances surrounding Mutu testing positive for cocaine.

The FA's adopted directive of "strict liability" means the player concerned is ultimately responsible for any banned substance in their system.

If the FA wishes to impose a ban, the minimum would be a six-month suspension.

A second offence within five years of the first carries a minimum 12-month suspension and a third offence results in permanent suspension.

But the hearing can also recommend a period of "assesment, counselling, treatment and rehabilitation" and would not then be obliged to impose a suspension.

RECREATIONAL OR PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING

The player's admission of guilt is likely to see the disciplinary committee react more leniently in assessing any punishment.

So too will the fact that he tested positive for a recreational drug, as opposed to a performance-enhancing stimulant.

The PFA draws a distinction between the two and any disciplinary commission may react with more compassion to a recreational offence.

But the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) refuses to recognise this distinction, a stance which could complicate decision making.

"The WADA prohibited list does not include social drugs out of competition, only in-competition," explained UK Sport international director John Scott.

He added: "The FA has gone one step further, which is a very responsible step because they're aware of the sort of lifestyle footballers lead and there is a huge temptation to stray into social drugs use out of competition."

AN UNLIKELY GAMBLE

Had Mutu requested his B sample be tested, the chances of overturning the original result would have been slim.

Scott, whose organisation runs the Football Association's drug testing programme, insists there are rigorous procedures in place, leaving little room for error.

Speaking on a general scale, Scott told BBC Sport: "The likelihood of a mistake is extremely minute."

He added: "UK Sport are planning to do 1600 tests this year which is up by about 300-400 on last season.

"We are the national anti-doping agency so it's our responsibility to undertake the testing and make sure that is done to the highest possible standards.

MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES

Mutu will also plead mitigation over personal problems after he was separated from his wife, television presenter Alexandra Dimu.

The pair are now reconciled, although Mutu was upset over the break-up of his marriage and leaving his young child behind to play in England.

The player's problems intensified when he fell out with manager Jose Mourinho over Mutu's decision to defy the club and play for Romania in their World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic last week.

Mutu played despite a knee problem and Mourinho fined him two weeks' wages on his return to England.

PREVIOUS CASES

Bosnich received a nine-match ban from football after testing positive for cocaine in 2002.

An FA commission ruled after a two-day hearing that he was guilty of charges of improper conduct and breaching their doping control regulations.

The goalkeeper claimed his drink had been spiked with the drug while out, but failed in an appeal against the FA decision.

He escaped the maximum two-year ban and his back-dated suspension ended last month.

Bosnich is now contemplating a return, despite initially saying he would retire from the game.

Arsenal striker Paul Merson admitted problems with drugs, alcohol and gambling in 1994.

He escaped a ban but was ordered to spend six weeks in a rehabilitation clinic and later rebuilt his career with Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Portsmouth and Walsall.

At the time of Bosnich's failed test, Merson advocated rehabilitation ahead of a ban from football.

He said: "It is hard, it's the hardest thing you could ever do, but if you get out the other side it is the best thing you could ever do."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon


Interview: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho on Adrian Mutu





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