West Ham have been charged with a breach of anti-doping rules by the Football Association, which could result in a substantial fine.
The FA said the Premier League club were alleged to have “failed to ensure its ‘club whereabouts’ information was accurate on three occasions within 12 months”.
Clubs are required to keep the FA informed of the location of their players in order to facilitate drug-testing.
West Ham have until February 27 to respond, and say “administrative oversights” are behind the charge, rather than any offence by a player.
There is more drug-testing in football this season than ever before, which means there are more opportunities for players to be tested.
Regulation 14 of the FA’s anti-doping-regulations for 2017-18 is titled ‘Club whereabouts information’ – which includes details such as training dates, start and finish times of training and where the sessions will be taking place.
Information on a home address or where the player “regularly resides overnight” must also be supplied.
The FA said West Ham’s charge concerns “specifically Regulation 14(d)”, which states there will be a breach of the anti-doping code if the required club whereabouts information is “either initially inaccurate or has not been updated by the club as necessary to ensure it remains accurate, three times within any 12 month period.”
West Ham issued a statement to clarify the club’s position following the FA charge.
“The breach relates to administrative oversights on the FA’s whereabouts system, for example a player’s address had been registered and the house number digits transposed, and the club will be responding to the FA in due course,” a West Ham spokesman said on the club’s official website.
“We would like to make it clear that the breach is a club administrative matter and does not concern any of our players.”
Should the charge be upheld, the matter would be dealt with by an independent regulatory commission.
In February 2017, Manchester City were fined £35,000 after accepting a charge of breaching the FA’s anti-doping rules when failing to ensure their ‘club whereabouts’ information was accurate.
League One side Fleetwood were fined £4,000 and Bournemouth also £35,000 last year following breaches of the same regulations.