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Pogba bags four year ban for doping

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Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has been given a four-year ban after the World Cup winner tested positive for doping, reports DDM.

Italy’s National Anti-Doping Tribunal (TNA) accepted the request of the Anti-Doping Prosecutor’s Office to hand out the four-year ban – which is the standard length of ban under the World Anti-Doping Code (WADA).

The ban starts from when Pogba first tested positive, so the France international is banned until August 2027. He will be 34 years old when the ban stops, raising doubts over whether his career will continue after that.

In a statement from Pogba later on Thursday, he confirmed he will appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. He added he would tell his full story ‘when I am free of legal restrictions’.

“I have today been informed of the Tribunale Nazionale Antidoping’s decision and believe that the verdict is incorrect,” the statement read.

“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.”

It is likely WADA will themselves appeal against any ruling from the CAS if they were to uphold Pogba’s appeal – and a final judgement could end up at the Swiss federal courts. Juventus are not commenting on the latest ruling on Pogba.

Pogba ban: How did we get here?


The 30-year-old Juventus player was suspended as a precaution in September 2023 after being found positive for testosterone metabolites last August, following Juventus’ game at Udinese on August 20. The France international did not play in the Serie A match but was on the Juventus bench.

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He later made substitute appearances for Juventus against Bologna on August 27 and Empoli on September 3, before his suspension was announced.

Sky Sports News reported in October that Pogba would fight to clear his name, after testing positive for Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) – a compound that promotes the production of hormones in the body including testosterone.

Pogba’s agent Rafaela Pimenta insisted “Paul never wanted to break the rules.”

 

Pogba won the 2018 World Cup with France – the biggest trophy of his career so far

After his initial suspension, Pogba asked for counter-analysis to be made on his positive doping test but those results also returned a positive result.

In December, anti-doping prosecutors in Italy requested the maximum four-year ban following his positive doping test.

Pogba opted not to make a plea bargain with the anti-doping agency, meaning the case was tried before the country’s anti-doping court.

A four-year anti-doping ban can be reduced in cases where an athlete can prove it was not intentional, was the result of contamination, or if they can provide “substantial assistance” to help investigators.

‘A huge blow for Pogba’
French football expert Jonathan Johnson expects Paul Pogba will appeal against his four-year ban for doping but adds should that not be successful it could be very difficult for him to resurrect his career.

“I’m not surprised. We already knew that Pogba was going to receive a fairly lengthy suspension and I don’t think we’re surprised by the follow up that Pogba and his entourage will appeal the suspension.

“So whether this is the final length of the ban, we’ll have to wait and see. But I’m not surprised that the initial suspension handed down was as lengthy as this.

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“It’s huge for him personally. He’s gone through a couple of very difficult years and you could argue that his career has never been the same after hitting the heights with France at the 2018 World Cup.

“There have been injury and fitness issues on the field and then personal and family problems off it. So this is a huge blow for someone who has just turned 30 and was looking to turn his career around and is now potentially going to have to wait a few years.

“If the length of the suspension is four years, that’s a long time and to try and come back and relaunch your career at 34. It would be difficult, if not impossible for somebody of Pogba’s ability.”

Four-year ban potentially career ending’

“It’s a bit too early to say [if an appeal would be successful], but he will be optimistic of shaving at least a year or two off that initial four-year ban.

“The context in and around what has happened is key as well. This isn’t just about Pogba, it’s also about Juventus and his international career as well.

“He was a cornerstone in Didier Deschamps’ France squad. That is very unlikely to continue and we could even talk about Pogba’s international career being well and truly behind him now.

“He has a lot to lose if that appeal is not well-founded and doesn’t manage to take some years off of that suspension, which already looks like it could be potentially career-ending.

“If the suspension is confirmed for that amount of time, I think he’ll look back on his career and be satisfied with what he achieved with his country, although there will be a feeling that he should have won at least one Euros title.

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“But if you’re Pogba, the priority is not to be drawing a line under your career, doing your best to get yourself back on the pitch and getting that ban cut down by at least a year. If he tried to come back at 32 or 33, it might be a bit more doable than 34 or 35.”

Has Pogba failed to fulfil his potential?

“The debate is valid. Yes, he has won the World Cup and been a fantastic player in his day, arguably better at international level than club level if we’re talking about consistency.

“But I do think this is a talent we forever talk about as being unfulfilled. Maybe there will be a couple of years left in his career, but there is an overwhelming feeling that even before this suspension, Pogba was always going to be one of players who could have won it all, picked up the biggest individual accolades going, but never quite lived up to his natural talent and the hype that surrounded him at the beginning of his career.

“And there’s an expectation that if the ban is confirmed for any duration of time, Juventus will probably terminate his contract. We will have to wait for the final sanction to be handed down before that decision is made, but there certainly is a feeling in France that it will end up happening.”


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