August 13, 2020
Players who fail drug test are automatically suspended and there is no appeal process for second offenders, says Fiji Football Association chief executive Mohammed Yusuf.
Commenting on the suspension of Ba striker Saula Waqa who has been handed a 3-year ban from all levels of football and fined $500, Yusuf said their processes are very clear and all districts are well versed with this.
He said he has heard from people that Ba FA is looking to appeal the suspension but so far nothing has been forwarded to them in writing.
“We have not received any written correspondence. Basically there is no appeal on a drug suspension. It is an automatic suspension out of the legislation.”
“If a player is found positive for the first time, he is automatically suspended and given one month’s time to come clean and have a re-test. If the player tests negative then the suspension is lifted but if the second test is positive then the player gets a longer suspension and fine.”
“In Waqa’s case, he is a second offender. He knew very well about all the consequences and yet he opted to take drugs and came out positive after the test. Ba Football was notified the same night and the player was given his suspension letter within two days from the incident.”
Meanwhile Yusuf has commended all districts for their effort in containing drug usage among their players.
“Since we started testing players for drugs, this was the first tournament where we only had one positive case out of the 72 tests that were conducted. It shows that districts are taking our campaign very seriously and are doing their share of work to eliminate drugs from football.”
He also revealed that some districts opted not to field players who they suspected were using drugs and this was also a very bold and commendable move.
“Some players were in the final team for the BOG but they did not get games as their districts were not satisfied with regards to their status. All districts have to conduct their own tests before games and those who have suspicious players can simply drop them to avoid fines and suspensions,” he added.
By Reginald Chandar