Pogba to appeal 4-year ban for doping

February 29 – Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has been banned from football for four years for a doping offence.

The Frenchman, who was once the most expensive player in football history, was provisionally suspended in September after a drugs test conducted by Italy’s national anti-doping body (NADO Italia) found elevated levels of endurance-increasing testosterone in his system.

Speaking after the verdict on Thursday morning, Pogba said: “I am sad, shocked and heartbroken that everything I have built in my professional playing career has been taken away from me.

“When I am free of legal restrictions the full story will become clear, but I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations.

“As a professional athlete I would never do anything to enhance my performance by using banned substances and have never disrespected or cheated fellow athletes and supporters of any of the teams I have played for, or against.

“As a consequence of the decision announced today I will appeal this before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

The player was caught after being randomly selected to partake in the testing following Juve’s 3-0 Serie A season-opening victory at Udinese on August 20.

The former Manchester United star, who won the World Cup with France in 2018, has had a torrid second spell with Juventus due to injuries which also saw him miss last year’s World Cup in Qatar.

He barely played last season due to knee surgery and hamstring issues, and didn’t start a game this term, ahead of his suspension in October, tallying a total of 51 minutes as a substitute this season in games with Bologna and Empoli.

The ruling means Pogba will be unable to play until 2027, when he will be 33, with the ban backdated to the date of the failed test.

Pogba has insisted that if he did take a banned substance, he did so inadvertently.

Speaking at the time of the initial suspension, Pogba’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, backed up his player’s claims: “What is certain is that Paul Pogba never wanted to break a rule.”

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1720804204labto1720804204ofdlr1720804204owedi1720804204sni@g1720804204niwe.1720804204yrrah1720804204