Paul Pogba was nearing his return to football from injury just when another setback struck. It was announced by Italy’s National Anti-Doping Tribunal (NADO Italia) on Monday that the French midfielder used a banned substance to boost testosterone levels, a hormone which enhances endurance in athletes.
NADO Italia provisionally suspended Pogba from playing football and now both parties await the results of the counter-analysis or the Sample B test. However, if found guilty, the player could face a suspension of two to four years. Juventus have also adhered to NADO Italia’s ruling and have suspended the player temporarily.
Now, let us take a look at previous such incidents faced by footballers in the Serie A according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
In the 2000s, doping was a severe problem in Serie A. The likes of Pep Guardiola, Jaap Stam and Edgar Davids were all found guilty of doping at various points in the 2000s, with the ex-Tottenham midfielder and ex-Man United defender testing positive for nandrolone in the same season. Stam was handed a five-month suspension and Davids was handed a four-month ban in the same year.
Guardiola also tested positive for nandrolone in 2001 during his time at Brescia, with the Spaniard failing a drugs test twice. He was banned from football for four months and on appeal in 2005, Guardiola was actually handed a seven-month suspended jail sentence by a court in Brescia. A change in the World Anti Doping Guidelines in 2007 meant that Guardiola was exonerated after two failed appeals.
The most recent case was that of Atalanta’s Jose Luis Palomino. The player was charged for using metabolite Clostebol which can also be found in a healing ointment. While he was acquitted by the National Anti-Drug Tribunal, a final verdict is still awaited from the court. The defender too, like Pogba, was initially suspended.
Another case was that of the then-Cagliari midfielder Joao Pedro. The Brazilian was charged with abusing a diuretic, which was traceable in consecutive two doping tests in 2018. While the prosecutor proposed a four-year ban on the player, the court took notice of the defence’s explanation that the substance was prescribed in Brazil and upheld a six-month suspension for Pedro.
While the player concerned in the previous cases got away with a nominal sentence, it is time to see how Paul Pogba’s case takes its turn.
Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN