FORMER Vikings star Dave Allen has received a 12-month ban from rugby league after testing positive for cocaine.

The RFL had initially accepted 21-year-old Allen's claim he had taken the drug accidentally but the punishment was doubled thanks to a landmark challenge by UK Sport.

It took the case to independent arbitration, asking for the mandatory two-year ban under the World Anti-Doping Code.

It was the first such appeal by UK Sport against a sanction imposed by a national governing body on an athlete who failed a drugs test.

Allen had been found guilty of having a metabolite of cocaine in his system last season.

The Widnesian back-row forward was in the Vikings team that lost 29-16 to Hull KR in the National League One Grand Final in October and was randomly drug tested at Warrington's Halli-well-Jones Stadium immediately after the game.

Although his contract expired at the end of the 2006 season, Vikings had offered him a new deal.

This has now been terminated and his suspension has been backdated to November 2006.

Andy Parkinson, UK Sport's head of operations, said: 'We take no pleasure from this player receiving a two-year period of ineligibility.

'However, it is vital that the standards in the code are implemented consistently across all sports and, as we have shown here, we will act if we feel this has not been the case.

'This case now acts very much as a landmark in showing we will act swiftly and decisively if these obligations are not being met.'

Pat Cluskey, general manager of the Vikings, lectures to schools on the dangers of drug taking.

He said: 'We do not condone drug-taking, whether performance-enhancing or recreational, and the directors and coaching staff are taking steps to ensure that the players are fully aware of the penalties, both legal and physical, that such actions can bring.'

Allen's legal representative, Richard Cramer, says his client will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lucerne.