FORMER Western Sydney Wanderers star and Socceroo Mitch Nichols has been charged with possession of cocaine at a Sydney nightclub.
Nichols, 28, who was released by the Wanderers last week, was allegedly at Casablanca nightclub in Double Bay in the early hours of last Saturday when police conducted a random drug sweep.
Just before 12.30am police located three small clear resealable plastic bags containing about 1.1 grams of a white powder which they believed to be cocaine.
Police confiscated the drugs and issued Nichols with a field court attendance notice for possess prohibited drug. He is due to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on Friday 9 June.
Nichols was told last week that his contract at Western Sydney would not be renewed for next season, and the midfielder is believed to want to try his luck in the European leagues.
However any offence would still be within the jurisdiction of Football Federation Australia once his contract expires at the end of this month. All of the Western Sydney players are currently on leave, including those who are being released.
Under FFA's Code of Conduct, that applies to all registered players, there is a catch-all "bringing the game into disrepute" charge, under which players can be suspended immediately at the discretion of the governing body.
The code specifically notes that it "continues to apply to a member even after that member's association, registration, employment or engagement has ended, if that member breached this code while a current member."
In effect he could be suspended even without having a contract, though the Code also notes that a player must be given due notice of any potential charge and the right to a fair hearing.
Nichols was released after a disappointing season in which Western Sydney only just made the finals, and was eliminated at the first hurdle.
He won two A-League titles with Brisbane Roar and has played five times for his country, though not since Ange Postecoglou - his former boss at Brisbane - took charge.
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