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Mutu banned for seven months
Bill Barclay | November 04, 2004 22:33 IST
Romanian striker Adrian Mutu was banned from soccer for seven months on Thursday after being found guilty of taking a banned substance by the English Football Association.
Chelsea sacked the 25-year-old last Friday for cocaine use and the FA announced its punishment after Mutu attended a disciplinary hearing at the ruling body's Soho Square headquarters on Thursday.
"Adrian Mutu has been suspended for seven months, subject to the player successfully completing a programme of education and rehabilitation," the FA said on its website.
Mutu was also fined 20,000 pounds ($36,800) and will be subject to target testing throughout the period of suspension.
His suspension includes the period already served under an interim suspension order, beginning on October 25, and will run until May 18 2005.
His seven-month suspension will apply worldwide provided it is endorsed by world ruling body FIFA, which usually requires a minimum six-month suspension for such offences.
However, the ban falls short of the two-year minimum recommended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Mutu has the right to appeal against his punishment although he indicated before Thursday's hearing that he would not do so.
Speaking before the ban was announced, Mutu's agent Victor Becali said: "We are not worrying about Mutu's future. We (Mutu's agents) already received proposals from four clubs for Mutu, even without knowing his ban yet.
"Two of them are from England," he added without elaborating.
Last season the FA banned Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand for eight months for missing a drugs test.
Mutu's ban is less than Ferdinand's because the FA did not want to give players an incentive to miss tests.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Bosnich was banned for nine months last year for cocaine use.