The Central Coast Mariners have denied reports the club sacked midfielder Troy Hearfield over a failed drug test, saying he asked to be released.
Reports surfaced today that Hearfield underwent a routine drug test after the round-four match against the Melbourne Heart in October which later revealed traces of a recreational drug.
News Limited reported the former Olyroos player, who has made 30 appearances for the Mariners since 2011, had his contract terminated by the club two months ago.
However, the Mariners released a brief statement on Friday clarifying that Hearfield was not dumped by the club but rather sought a release.
"Central Coast Mariners wish to advise that Troy Hearfield approached the club in early February seeking a release from his contract,'' the statement read.
"The club and Troy then mutually agreed to terminate his contract at that time.''
Hearfield, 25, is awaiting the outcome of a tribunal he fronted a fortnight ago and could face a ban from all sports of between 12 months and five years.
The Mariners said they would make no further comment until the the legal process was complete.
It is just the second time an A-League player has failed a drug test with former Perth player Stan Lazaridis testing positive in 2007 after taking a prescription alopecia medication - a drug that was later withdrawn from the banned list.
Before joining the Mariners, Hearfield racked up 66 games over three seasons with the Wellington Phoenix following a stint with the Newcastle Jets.