Middlesbrough winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing served a three-month ban from football for using cocaine last year, the Football Association has confirmed.

The 28-year-old had his Cardiff deal terminated for an ‘alleged breach of contract’ last September.

Mendez-Laing’s Middlesbrough deal runs until the end of the season

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Mendez-Laing’s Middlesbrough deal runs until the end of the season

Now, the FA says Mendez-Laing, who joined Middlesbrough last week, tested positive for cocaine, which was used ‘in a context unrelated to sporting performance’.

An FA statement read: “The Middlesbrough FC player provided an in-competition urine sample to the FA via UK Anti-Doping officials on 4 July 2020 while playing for Cardiff City FC and it was found to contain metabolites of cocaine once subsequently analysed.

“Cocaine is classified as a prohibited substance in-competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), therefore Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was charged by the FA for a breach of its Anti-Doping regulations and provisionally suspended on 14 August 2020.

“Nathaniel Mendez-Laing admitted the charge but was able to explain that the substance had been ingested out-of-competition in a context that was unrelated to sporting performance.

Mendez-Laing spent three years at Cardiff

Getty Images – Getty

Mendez-Laing spent three years at Cardiff

“An independent Regulatory Commission was subsequently convened to decide an appropriate sanction and, in line with the revised 2021 WADA Code that permits reduced sanctions for ‘Substances of Abuse’, applied a back-dated three-month suspension from 14 August 2020.”

Mendez-Laing, who has had spells with Peterborough and Rochdale, won promotion to the Premier League with Cardiff under his current Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock in 2018.

He was an unused substitute in Boro’s 4-1 defeat to Brentford last weekend and will be hoping to make his debut when they travel to Derby on Saturday.

In a statement released to the BBC, Mendez-Laing said: “With the help of my family, close friends, my agent, and the PFA [Professional Footballers’ Association] during this extremely difficult time, I have been able to overcome my personal hurdles, to focus, and invest my time in working hard, determined to return to football.

“I appreciate all the support I have been given throughout. I now want to leave that period of my life in the past where it belongs.

“I’m excited about the future and delighted to be back doing what I love.”


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