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Manchester City Charged Over Anti-Doping Rules

Premier League club Manchester City has been charged by the Football Association (FA) after it failed to provide detailed “club whereabouts” information for its players on three separate occasions.

In a statement, FA said it is alleged the club failed to ensure that their ‘club whereabouts’ information was accurate, contrary to regulation 14(d). This charge does not concern any individual player. The Football Association has a three-strikes-and-out policy and it is alleged the Premier Club has fallen foul of this, having thrice failed to update schedules of players who have changed training times when they have for instance moved to train with the first-team squad of Pep Guardiola.

Manchester City has time until January 19 to respond to the charge. The club is likely to receive a financial punishment if found guilty. An independent commission will sit and judge the case once Manchester City enters a plea. The case should be resolved quicker than if it pleads not guilty and accepts the charge as the commission will require more time to consider it.

There is no provision of a team's anti-doping rule violations in the World Anti-Doping Agency Code that harmonizes anti-doping policies and related rules and regulations for sport across the world. Therefore, the club is not considered to have committed an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) under the WADA Code.

Under Regulation 14(a) of the Football Association anti-doping rules, clubs are required to furnish any whereabouts information on request that should include the dates their players train, the start and finish times of training, the address at which such training will take place, and the home address for a player and any other address at which they regularly reside overnight. The Regulation 14(a) tells clubs that there will be a breach of the regulation for a club to fail to provide regular details of the times, dates and venues of training sessions of the club in the manner directed by the FA.

Manchester City has violated Regulation 14(d) that says there will be a breach of the regulations if the information contained in such reports is either initially inaccurate or has not been updated by the club as necessary to ensure it remains accurate.

The Football Association operates a whereabouts team that is required to be informed of where any player of any club might be so that the anti-doping department of the governing body can test them. Anti-doping tests are carried out by UK Anti-Doping on behalf of the FA. Under FA Anti-Doping rules, players are randomly subject to blood and urine tests. A refusal to take a test is regarded as the equivalent of a failed test and can result in a two year ban from football. A player who leaves a session early or is not in training is required to make himself available for one hour in that day between 6am and 11pm and is required to give a grace of two hours to anti-doping authorities from the time he informs them of his absence from training to the beginning of his one hour window.

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Albert Wolfgang
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