December 16 – Former Saudi Arabia international Mohammed Noor, one of his country’s most successful players, has been handed a four-year ban for doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
CAS said it had upheld an appeal from FIFA over a mere four-month ban previously imposed on the retired midfielder by a tribunal in Saudi Arabia.
Noor played at one Confederations Cup and two World Cups, in 2002 and 2006 and is a household name in his country where the CAS decision, however justified, is bound to cause consternation. He spent almost all of his career at Jeddah club Al-Ittihad and won two Asian Champions Leagues and seven Saudi league titles.
CAS said that he tested positive for the banned substance amphetamine following a match in November last year.
Noor was provisionally suspended the same month and then banned for four years in February by the Saudi anti-doping panel. But when he appealed, although the Saudis recognised the presence of the banned substance in his sample they decided to end the ban, CAS said.
Noor then retired in June and the Saudi appeals process ruled the four-and-a-half months served would be “sufficient”.
But FIFA appealed this – and won.
CAS said in its decision that Noor “failed to identify any basis for impugning the reliability or accuracy of the testing laboratory’s analysis of his A and B Sample.
“Moreover, the Player could not identify any particular deviation from the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) international standards for laboratories,” it said. “Therefore, the appropriate sanction for the player’s anti-doping rule violation is a four-year period of ineligibility.”
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