February 9 – Ajax’s international goalkeeper André Onana (pictured) has been banned for one year by UEFA for a doping infraction and is set to miss next year’s African Cup of Nations in his home nation of Cameroon for whom he has 15 caps.
Traces of the banned substance Furosemide were found in his urine during an out-of-competition test on October 30, Ajax said, leading to a year-long ban from all football activities.
Onana insisted the violation was the result of a mistake in that he accidentally took a medicine meant for his girlfriend on the morning of October 30. Since then he has continued to play in domestic competitions and the Champions League.
“I mistakenly took it for an aspirin because the packaging was almost identical, which I greatly regret,” Onana said in a post on his Instagram account.
“I respect the UEFA Appeals Body, but I do not share their decision in this case. I consider it excessive and disproportionate as it has been acknowledged by UEFA that it was an unintentional mistake.”
The 24-year old has played 142 matches for Ajax since 2015 and has been one of the key players behind the club’s recent domestic and European success including helping Ajax reach the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019 and the final of the Europa League two years earlier.
Furosemide is often used as a masking agent to hide the presence of other drugs but Ajax and Onana both said they would appeal the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“We had hoped for a conditional suspension or for a suspension much shorter than these twelve months, because it was arguably not intended to strengthen his body and thus improve his performance,” reasoned Ajax managing director Edwin van der Sar.
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