Sheffield United’s Jose Baxter could be banned for up to 24 months after testing positive for a prohibited recreational substance, believed to be cocaine, earlier this season.
The midfielder, who was immediately suspended by his club when doping control officers informed them of the breach following February 16th’s League One fixture at Bury, received a five month ban - with three of those suspended - when traces of MDMA were discovered in his system last term.
Because the Football Association deems the use of social drugs as a strict liability offence - meaning no proof is required that
Baxter ingested the substance “intentionally, recklessly, negligently or even knowingly” - the governing body’s guidelines demand he will be immediately banned for three months if the result of his initial test is upheld.
The FA’s social drugs policy regulations also state that players found guilty of breaking them for a second time face “a suspension in the range of 6-24 months.”
Although the process is bound by strict confidentiality protocols, Baxter is thought to have claimed he is innocent of any deliberate wrongdoing before exercising his right to have a ‘B’ sample analysed.
United have refused to elaborate on the matter since issuing a statement, confirming Baxter had been suspended for an unspecified matter, three weeks ago.