Man City's 'soft' £35,000 anti-doping fine to spark FA disciplinary overhaul
16 February 2017 • 8:42pm
The Football Association has vowed to overhaul its disciplinary sanctions amid concern about lenient punishments after Manchester City were fined just £35,000 and warned about their future conduct for breaching anti-doping rules. City were charged by the FA last month after failing on three occasions to ensure their so-called “whereabouts” information was accurate. Clubs are required to provide up-to-date details of training sessions and player whereabouts so they are available for testing at all times. With current guidelines recommending fines of around £25,000 for such breaches, an independent regulatory commission was restricted in terms of the punishment it could dish out and the FA is understood to recognise that the existing framework is inadequate.
As such, the governing body intends to review all its sanctioning guidelines, including those relating to the disciplinary behaviour of clubs, managers and players during games, with the aim of establishing a more robust punishments system. Of more immediate concern to City is the fitness of Gabriel Jesus, who is expected to have surgery on his broken metatarsal in Barcelona on Friday, with Guardiola hopeful that the striker could return in two months.
The Brazilian flew to the Spanish city on Thursday in order to be assessed by Dr Ramon Cugat, the orthopaedic surgeon favoured by Guardiola, ahead of an anticipated operation at the Quironsalud hospital. Jesus suffered the fracture in his right foot during the first half of City’s 2-0 win away to Bournemouth on Monday, since when he has had his foot in a protective boot and been using crutches. But while there were concerns the 19 year-old could be out for as long as three months, there is some optimism that the player could be available in just over eight weeks if surgery and his rehabilitation go to plan.
City spent millions establishing a first-class medical facility at their CFA training complex but Guardiola has often encouraged players to travel to Barcelona to be seen by Dr Cugat since taking charge at the Etihad Stadium last summer. Vincent Kompany, Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan have all visited his clinic this season. Meanwhile, Guardiola will take his squad to Abu Dhabi next Wednesday, the day after the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie at home to Monaco, for a short warm-weather training break. City do not play again until they travel to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland in the Premier League on March 4 because their league game at home to Manchester United was postponed due to their rival’s involvement in the League Cup final. Guardiola will also use the opportunity to meet with City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak and the club’s Abu Dhabi hierarchy.