ROME -- A drug test Friday showed Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona used cocaine sometime before a March 17 Italian League match for his club Napoli.
Analysts performing the test said it showed 'traces of cocaine,' press reports said.
It was the second test from a sample provided by Maradona for routine random drug testing after the match against Bari in Naples. The analysts said the procedure started at 9:45 a.m. and lasted 'more than eight hours' because of the large number of tests Maradona's defense lawyers and Napoli officials insisted on.
The finding could affect the two penal cases already under way against Maradona by Naples magistrates for alleged drug offenses. One involves allegations that Maradona gave Naples prostitutes he consorted with doses of cocaine, charges Maradona has denied.
The second case concerns claims of an informer that he acted as a courier to deliver cocaine from South America to Maradona -- also denied by Maradona.
Maradona's original positive result for an 'illicit substance' was made public earlier this week, but the substance was not identified at the time.
The second test was carried out at a soccer federation laboratory at a Rome sports center.
The sample analysts included two scientists nominated by the Napoli club and by Maradona. Maradona chose Professor Manfred Donicke, a German scientist identified in the sports press as the leading authority on sports doping in Europe.
Apart from any legal charges, Maradona, 30, faces a ban of from six months to two years from soccer authorities. Any punishment by the Italian federation would be extended world-wide by FIFA, soccer's governing body.
The case will now go to the League Disciplinary Committee, which will hand down punishment. Under League rules, Napoli is likely to be penalized as well as Maradona.
The player and the club can then appeal to the Federal Arbitration Committee for a final ruling, which may take several weeks.
Maradona is already disqualified from Saturday's crucial league match against Internazionale in Naples for protesting a referee's decision last Sunday.
Last fall, Roma goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi and striker Andrea Carnevale were disqualified for one year after traces of Fentermina, an amphetamine-based stimulant, were found in their urine after a Sept. 23 league match. Maradona is expected to be given at least as harsh a suspension.