Granada are to ask for the “biggest punishment” possible after the La Liga club’s winger Dani Benitez allegedly tested positive for cocaine.
Benitez, 26, is reported by Marca to have failed a drug test after his side’s 1-0 win over Real Betis on Feb. 16, in which he entered as a second-half substitute and was sent off for a violent challenge within 15 minutes.
The Mallorcan, who is on loan at Granada from Udinese, could under La Liga’s regulations be banned for as long as two years, and Granada president Quique Pina told El Larguero that he would not be asking for any leniency in this case.
“It is something you could never expect in the world of football, that a player would take cocaine and create a problem like this,” Pina said. “We did not expect this to happen. I have been very disappointed. We will look for the biggest punishment for a player who does this type of thing.”
Pina said he did not expect Granada to face any sanction as cocaine was not a performance-enhancing drug, and that he was especially disappointed as he had helped Benitez overcome previous personal issues to come up with the team from Spanish football’s third tier.
“It is not a substance to do with doping, as it in no way can help the team perform better,” the businessman said. “[Benitez] is a player who has been with us all the way from Segunda B. When he had problems in his life we have always helped him and been on top of him. He is the person I have helped most in my life.”
Spain’s Agency for the Protection of Health in Sports carried out the tests, and has yet to publicly comment ahead of the B sample being examined.
Benitez’s contracts with Udinese and Granada both run until summer 2015, and on Friday it was reported his contract could soon be rescinded should he be found guilty of the offence.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.