Is FIFA World Cup winner Paul Pogba's career over after 4-year doping ban?


Friday, 1 March 2024 (11:42 IST)
Paul Pogba's professional football career is in jeopardy after the French World Cup winner was banned from the sport for the maximum four years by Italy's anti-doping court on Thursday. 
Back in September, Pogba was flagged for elevated testosterone levels following a random doping test that was carried out after Juventus' game against Udinese on August 20.
The midfielder, who turns 31 next month, was provisionally suspended by Italy's national anti-doping (NADO Italia), who then confirmed the failed drugs test in a second sample in October. 
Talking to the AFP News Agency, a Juventus spokesperson said that the club had "received notification from the tribunal this morning" after Pogba opted not to make a plea bargain.
Pogba wrote on social media that he was "sad, shocked and heartbroken" by the "incorrect" decision, adding that he had "never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations".
The Frenchman added that he intends to appeal the decision to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport with his representatives maintaining that the testosterone came from a food supplement prescribed by a doctor he consulted in the United States.
A return in 2027?
Four-year bans are standard under the World Anti-Doping Code but can be reduced in cases where an athlete can prove their doping was not intentional, if the positive test was a result of contamination or if they provide "substantial assistance" to help investigators.
The current ruling means that Pogba would be prevented from playing until 2027, when he will be 33, as bans of these kinds are back dated to when the failed test was taken.
Pogba, who returned to Juventus for a second spell in 2022 after six years at Manchester United, was a key member of the France team that won the World Cup in Russia in 2018, scoring in the final against Croatia. Now his football career may be brought to an abrupt and dishonorable end.

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