Statement from Sunderland AFC.
The club was informed by the Football Association in October that Lewis Gibbons, who was a scholar with the club at the time, had failed an in-competition drugs test, testing positive for recreational drugs cocaine and cannabis.
Following an FA investigation, the player was given a mandatory two-year ban from football. A club investigation also took place at the time and his scholarship with Sunderland was cancelled with immediate effect.
SAFC’s chief executive, Margaret Byrne, said: “Empowering and educating our young people to make the right choices and decisions, both on and off the field, is fundamental to our Academy philosophy and ethos. We expect the highest standards of all players who have the honour of being part of Sunderland AFC, which is why this came as such a shock to us.
“It was enormously disappointing for everyone at the club who works so hard to support our young players and give them every opportunity to make it as professional footballers. We are strong advocates of the rigorous testing programme that our sport adheres to and we will continue to educate and advise all of our young players as to the enormous dangers of drug use. “
Sunderland AFC’s Academy Manager, Ged McNamee, added: “Lewis not only let our club down, he let himself and his team-mates down massively. We took the strongest possible action in terminating his contract as every footballer knows the severe consequences of this type of offence. We have, however, worked to ensure that support and assistance was available to the player and his family through what has undoubtedly been a difficult and challenging time for them.”