SYDNEY, Australia, May 17 – A-League star and former Socceroo Mitch Nichols has been charged with drug possession after a police swoop on a Sydney pub, it emerged Wednesday.
Police allege they found three bags of a white powder, believed to be cocaine, on a 28-year-old when they raided a nightclub with sniffer dogs on Saturday evening.
He was widely named in local media as Nichols, who was released by Western Sydney Wanderers last week, with video footage circulating of the raid and the player being questioned.
Police said the man was issued with a field court attendance notice — effectively a ticket — for possessing a prohibited drug, rather than being arrested.
He is due to appear in a Sydney court on Friday.
The Wanderers said it was committed to a zero tolerance message when it came to drugs.
“While Mitch was released by the club prior to the incident, the player’s wellbeing remains a priority and every support will be offered to him during this time,” the club said.
Football Federation Australia said in a statement it took such issues “very seriously”.
“The matter has been referred to the FFA integrity department, which has spoken to the club, and will be dealt with under the FFA code of conduct.”
The FFA has no clear precedent for drug offences, with the scourge largely bypassing the sport until now.
The only other incident of note was in 2015 when traces of a recreational drug were found in the system of Central Coast Mariners midfielder Troy Hearfield during a doping test. He was sacked.
Known as a creative midfielder, Nichols played five times for the national team, making his debut in 2009 with his most recent appearance against Japan in 2014.
He played 125 times for Brisbane Roar before moving to Melbourne Victory. Nichols also had stints at Perth Glory and Japan’s Cerezo Osaka before joining the Wanderers in 2015.