Flamengo’s Gabigol to appeal 2-year ban for attempted anti-doping fraud

March 26 – Flamengo star Gabriel Barbosa Almeida ‘Gabigol’ has been suspended for two years by a Brazilian sports court for attempted anti-doping fraud.

Brazil’s Anti-Doping Sports Court of Justice voted 5-4 to punish Barbosa, but the player will appeal the decision.

“The aforementioned athlete was judged today by the Anti-Doping Sports Court of Justice (TJD-AD) and, by a majority vote, it was decided that a violation of the anti-doping rule of attempted fraud had occurred,” the Brazilian Doping Control Authority said.

It’s alleged that the former Brazil striker behaved erratically during a surprise test ahead of a match in Rio de Janeiro’s state championship. He tested hours after his teammates. Barbosa’s lawyers have argued that his blood test was clean, but nonetheless the player has been slapped with a two-year punishment.

“The club received the decision with surprise and will help the athlete in his representation at the Court for Arbitration of Sport,” said Flamengo in a statement, stressing that “there was no fraud, not even an attempted fraud.”

The 27-year-old’s contract with Flamengo will expire this year. After failed spells with Inter Milan and Benfica, Barbosa returned to Brazil and built himself a name with the Rio club, winning among others the Copa Libertadores final twice.

In both finals – against Argentina’s River Plate and Athletico Paranaense – he scored all of Flamengo’s goals. He has however struggled to retain his place in the starting XI after former Brazil manager Tite took over last year.

“Since the beginning of my career as a football player, I have always followed the rules of the game and never used prohibited substances,” posted Barbosa on Instagram.

“I have already been subjected to dozens of tests, all of which were always negative, which reinforces my commitment to my club and to the Brazilian fans.

“I am disappointed with the outcome of the trial, but I will continue to cooperate with the sports authorities and am confident that my innocence will be proven and reestablished by the higher court.”

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