Stoke City were “aware” of Berahino drugs ban when he signed for club, admits Mark Hughes

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Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has admitted the club were aware of Saido Berahino’s eight-week suspension for a failed drugs test when they signed the striker from West Bromwich Albion.

The 23-year-old signed for the Potters last month, having not played for the Baggies since September 10.

Berahino’s three-month absence is rumoured to be due to an FA ban after testing positive for a recreational drug.

At the time, West Brom explained that Berahino – who made his Stoke debut in the draw with Everton in mid-week – was not in the first-team was because he was at a boot camp in the south of France to improve his fitness.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Stoke’s trip to the Hawthorns this Saturday, February 4, Hughes said: “We were aware of it, clearly.

“There was an FA disciplinary matter and Saido had a suspension. I think it was an eight-week suspension.

“We were aware of it. That’s about it really. In terms of more detail, I can’t give you great details. You probably have to refer back to his previous club West Brom.

“We’ve got him in the building now and are pleased with what he’s producing. He’s looking forward to the game tomorrow.”

Hughes was insistent that the player is keen to put the incident in the past and added: “He’s had issues at his previous club for maybe 18 months and maybe this is part of it.

“We are clear. It’s a matter that’s been dealt with. We move on and Saido is looking to move on.

“He’s come to a club with ambitions and is really looking forward to it.”

Hughes also revealed that England youth international Berahino is eager to be involved against his former club.

He continued: “I think he’s itching to play a part. Clearly the circumstances of the game will dictate if he gets on, but he’s very much in my thoughts.

“He’s an opposition player. Most opposition players get a bit of stick when they go back to a previous club.

“He’s probably used to it at West Brom, to be perfectly honest. He’s not going to be expecting anything he hasn’t had before.”

West Brom boss Tony Pulis confirmed Berahino served a ban but did not reveal why, insisting that he only did not play for the Baggies because “he wasn’t fit enough.”

The FA have not commented on the issue. They say they do not discuss issues regarding doping violations unless they breach the World Anti-Doping Agency regulations.

But it is thought that a positive test for a recreational drug out of competition is not seen as a breach of WADA code.

Stoke City take on West Brom away at 3pm tomorrow.

 

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