Dumbstruck officials at Farnborough FC have questioned the Football Association's stance on drug testing after being severely punished for acting on the revelations of former striker Reece Connolly.
The Conference South club were fined £5,000 and warned of their future conduct after being found guilty of breaching FA Doping Control Regualtions in relation to Connolly, who tested positive for cocaine and marajuana last October.
Now Boro chiefs have vowed to appeal the severity of the punishment which they believes throws the future of the cash-strapped club into doubt.
Connolly was one of a small number of players to take the test after the club received a tip-off that the record signing from Aldershot Town had used banned substances.
The 21-year-old front man was subsequently suspended for five weeks by the club, but Connolly, with the backing of the Professional Footballers' Association, questioned whether club medics were right to order the test rather than notify the Football Association.
Connolly was later sacked by the Cherrywood Road club and joined league rivals Eastleigh, but his career has since been blighted by more speculation regarding his social activity.
He has now been banned from all football for six months by an FA Commission, but it's the was ruling against the club who first exposed his antics which has drawn the most criticism with the club insisting it remained “totally committed to the fight against drugs in football”.
A statement read: “While we accept there was a technical breach of the doping regulations in this case, we find it staggering that we have been fined such a vast sum and we will be appealing.
“We have lost over £20,000 in this matter and feel the penalty is excessive in the very least. It is a sum of money with the club struggling to stay on an even keel after exiting Administration last year that it just cannot afford.”
“The club had the opportunity of selling the player after we received two written offers when he had failed the test which would have recouped it a substantial sum of money but refused on the basis of protecting the integrity of the drugs stance yet we feel we have been penalised twice over.”
“The Football Association would be better served using its resources to increasing the effectiveness of its random testing and applying the toughest penalties available in all drug related cases, rather than punishing those who act genuinely in the fight against drugs.
“In the circumstances, the test on October 26th proved positive and a second FA approved test was conducted in late January 2014 when the player was at his new club, Eastleigh, was also positive.”
The player has admitted to taking cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana on at least six long term occasions with two clubs, vindicating our actions.
“Farnborough’s position on drugs is very clear. We adopt a zero tolerance policy towards anybody who fails a drug test and then rejects the opportunity of rehabilitation and then further, in this case, goes on to continue to take drugs.”