Football

League Of Ireland Player Brandon Miele Banned Two Years For Anti-Doping Violation

League Of Ireland Player Brandon Miele Banned Two Years For Anti-Doping Violation

Brandon Miele has been banned for two years after failing to give a full urine sample to a doping control officer following a game between St Patrick's Athletic and Sligo Rovers last year.

In a joint statement from Sport Ireland and the FAI, it is said that Miele, who was playing for St Pat's at the time, "committed a violation of Article 2.3 by not submitting to Sample collection after notification and did not have a compelling justification for doing so."

His period of ineligibility begins from September 9th, 2019.

In a statement issued through the PFAI, Miele - an unused substitute in the game - said that he had already urinated twice during the match and so found it difficult to provide a full sample.

The situation was exacerbated by his daughter falling and hitting her head. Miele received phone calls from his partner requesting his presence to take care of their daughter. After two hours of attempting to provide the sample, Miele felt compelled to leave the testing centre and attend to the family emergency.

The former Shamrock Rovers player believes he was put in an "impossible position". He also called the two-year suspension "severe" and added that he has never taken any banned substances.

In a statement, St Pat's said that Miele did not train with the club from the beginning of May and that he tendered his resignation, which was accepted, on June 6th of last year.

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Sport Ireland also alleged that Miele had committed a violation of Article 2.5, 'Tampering or Attempted Tampering with any part of Doping Control'. However, it was not established to the satisfaction of the panel that he had violated the rule.

Brandon Miele statement

"On 19 April 2019, while an unused substitute for St Patrick's Athletic, in a match against Sligo Rovers, I was selected randomly to do a post-match drugs test. As I had already urinated twice over the course of the match, I found it difficult to provide a sample. While trying to do so, I was informed by my partner, Sinead, that my daughter had fallen and hit her head. Over a period of two hours while attempting to comply with the requirements of the testers, my partner became increasingly concerned about the health of my daughter and contacted me continuously to ask me to return to care for her. While some confusion arose as to whether or not she had been brought to hospital, it became apparent to me that it would be necessary to leave the testing centre to be with my daughter, who has a history of health problems in her short life to date, including one period of intensive care detention.

"After two hours of trying everything to provide a sample including drinking copious amounts and walking on cold floors in bare feet, I was only able to provide a partial sample. I had reached such a state of agitation and confusion as a result of my daughter's health at this point that I felt I must leave to be with her. I was not aware at the time of the consequences of leaving at this juncture but felt my first obligation was to my family.

"I am pleased that, in spite of the decision, the tribunal fully accepted my honest attempts to cooperate and indeed found that "all four witnesses called on behalf of Sport Ireland were of the view that Mr Miele acted in a sincere and fully cooperative manner at all times and took the decision that he had to be there for his family" and "genuinely believed that Mr Miele was agitated and upset and concerned about the health of his daughter."

"The panel reached the conclusion that Sinead and I are 'caring and responsible parents who regard as paramount the health and well being of their young daughter....the failure to provide a sample (after a two hour period) was driven by Mr Miele's desire to be with his family and daughter and does not in the opinion of the panel constitute a manifest disregard of the potential anti-doping violation.'

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"While I do not regret my decision to prioritise my daughter's health, I do regret that the effect this has had. Ultimately, I have to take responsibility for my actions that night but I do feel that I was placed in an impossible position. I believe that many people would have followed a similar course.

"I was not sufficiently aware of the rules or penalties that follow a failure to provide a full sample. I do believe that the sanction of two years is very severe having regard to the dilemma I faced and having regard to lesser bans for people who have been found guilty of taking a banned substance but I must accept the decision of the tribunal.

"I realise that I have the option to appeal but given the possibility of an even longer ban and my desire to put this episode behind me, I do not intend to do so.

"For the avoidance of any doubt, I did not at that time take, and have never taken, any banned substances. Although I feel that the punishment that I am facing is particularly harsh, I hope that this will serve as a lesson to all other footballers and sportspeople who are faced with giving a sample. I hope they never face the choice I had but my experience is such that I would advise everyone now facing such a situation that not giving a sample should be the very last resort and every conceivable effort should be made.

"I would like to thank my family for their support and for the assistance of the PFA Ireland who have provided professional and legal advice throughout the process with particular thanks to Stephen McGuinness, Stuart Gilhooly and Patrick Marron B.L."

You can read the full decision from Sport Ireland here.

Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

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PJ Browne
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