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Thirteen footballers have failed recreational drug tests

BANNED: Stoke's Saido Berahino

THIRTEEN FOOTBALLERS have tested positive for social drugs since 2012 but their identities were kept secret by the Football Association.

The governing body guard the privacy of players who fail tests for recreational drugs like cocaine and ecstasy on non-match days, arguing it helps support their rehabilitation.

The players caught taking social drugs between July 2012 and June 2016 may represent a tiny number, but will surprise supporters who may have been given other reasons for players' absences.

Sportsmail revealed last week that Stoke's new striker Saido Berahino tested positive for a social drug in September when at West Bromwich Albion and served an eight-week ban. Albion fans were told at the time the 23-year-old had been left out of the team to work on his fitness.

The FA are one of the few governing bodies to test players for recreational drugs out of competition and hope to conduct almost 5,000 tests a season by 2018.

Football already conducts more tests than any other sport in England, with UK Anti-Doping testers working on behalf of the FA took 2,442 samples last season and the quantity is expected to top 3,000 this season.

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