Sheffield United’s Baxter fails drugs test

Jose Baxter has failed a drugs test
Jose Baxter has failed a drugs test
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Sheffield United midfielder Jose Baxter has failed a drugs test and the League One club have placed him under suspension.

A statement from Sheffield United on Saturday evening announced that “traces of a banned substance” were found when Baxter underwent Football Association testing.

Baxter, 23, began his career at Everton and is protesting his innocence, the South Yorkshire club said.

An announcement on the Blades’ official website said: “The club has learned that one of its players, Jose Baxter, was found to have traces of a banned substance in his sample following a routine Football Association out of competition drug test. The player has informed the club that he engaged in no wrongdoing involving any banned substance.

“Established policy in these circumstances requires that the club temporarily suspend the player pending further findings. The club has taken this step without prejudice to the player’s claim of no wrongdoing. The club will offer no further comment at this stage.”

News of Baxter’s failed test comes a day after it was announced Hull midfielder Jake Livermore has also failed a test.

Livermore’s test showed up cocaine.

There has been no announcement of what examinations of Baxter’s sample have shown up, and whether the substance in question is classed as recreational or performance-enhancing.

Baxter rose through the Everton’s ranks from the junior sides to the first team before finding opportunities were limited at Goodison Park.

He moved on to Oldham in 2012, before joining United a year later.

An attack-minded player who can be pushed into the forward line, he scored 13 goals in the club’s 2014-15 season, which ended in play-off semi-final defeat at the hands of Swindon.

The Professional Footballers’ Association said it was providing support to Baxter.

A PFA statement read: “The PFA notes the charge levied against Jose Baxter of Sheffield United regarding an alleged anti-doping violation.

“We are providing our full support at this difficult time but will make no further comment as the matter is subject to the appropriate processes.”