Two players tested positive for marijuana use, are set to receive much-needed help from their T&T Pro League club St Ann's Rangers.
The players, one a midfielder and the other a striker, were immediately dropped from Dennis Lawrence's provisional national squad following a random drug test on March 7 and 8. A T&T Football Association released yesterday confirmed the positive test and stated that communication is ongoing.
However, new St Ann's Rangers managing director Richard Ferguson said his players will not be abandoned because of one mistake. While he did not name the two players, he also did not rule out the possibility of punishment for the players, Ferguson told Guardian Media Sports his club will rather seek ways of providing assistance, whether through seeking counselling or a psychiatrist.
Since news of their positive test, the players have been under investigation by the club.
According to the Rangers' rules and regulations regarding drug use, the players are to provide a written report, before facing the disciplinary committee. "The club is investigating because the players are under contract. But we have faith in our players, we have the players' interests at heart, and will therefore not just abandon them because of a mistake," Ferguson explained.
He added, "If there is a need to punish them then that will happen. The club has strict rules regarding drug use and it will definitely be taking actions."
The players are set to receive a warning and possibly a fine for their first-time offence, Ferguson said, but noted it will become more severe if players are caught a second and third time etc. Marijuana is not the only drug that Rangers' players will be punished for, as they could face a similar penalty for cigarette use, alcohol and or any form of performance enhancement drug.
T&T Pro League chairman Richard Fakoory said his league stands firmly against drug use but has taken little to no action against players, as they cannot afford to pay for the tests.
However, he promised that when the new pro league season starts, the league will enforce its rules and regulations.
Due to the limited funds however, the pro league has left it up to the various clubs to take action for drug use.