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Last Updated: Monday, 7 April, 2003, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Walker banned for drug-taking
Hamilton midfielder John Walker
John Walker has not played for Accies since the incident
Hamilton Academical midfielder John Walker has been banned from football for three months after failing a Scottish Football Association drugs test.

The 29-year-old admitted to taking a Class A substance as he appeared before Scottish football's governing body on Monday.

Walker will have to attend drug counselling as well as working in the local community on behalf of the club.

If and when he returns to action, he will be obliged to take further random drugs tests.

Accies boss Chris Hillcoat insisted he was hopeful that the player would have a future at the club.

"I can't comment too much on that until I sit down with the club's directors," he admitted.

"From my point of view, I don't see any reason why he shouldn't come back but I'm only the manager and it's not up to me."

The important thing is that he gets rehabilitation
Players' union representative Tony Higgins
In a statement issued by the SFA following Monday's hearing, mention was made of "mitigating factors" that were taken into account before the length of Walker's ban was decided, although no explanation of what those factors were was given.

Tony Higgins, who represented the player in his role as the head of the Scottish players' union, said he felt Walker had been given a fair hearing.

"The devastation that he won't play football for three months is punishment enough."

An SFA spokesperson added: "The player has the right to appeal to an independent Doping Appeals Tribunal.

"Any player may at any time be subject to a test, and if the test is positive then the consequences can be severe.

"We believe in the principles of natural fitness and fair play, and condemn the taking of drugs or the use of doping by participants in football."

The midfielder was randomly selected to give a urine sample following the Division Two match away to Berwick Rangers on 8 March.

Walker began his career with Rangers before moving to Clydebank.

He then had spells with Grimsby Town, Mansfield, Scarborough, Kingstonian and Morton before moving to Hamilton in August 2001.


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