Barbosa suspended for two years in anti-doping case

Flamengo’s former Brazil forward Gabriel Barbosa Almeida was suspended for two years by a Brazilian sports court on Monday for attempted anti-doping fraud.

The 27-year-old, known as Gabigol, was accused of making it difficult to carry out an anti-doping test the day before Flamengo’s game in the Rio de Janeiro state league, which he took hours after his team mates, local media reported.

“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.

Barbosa issued a statement denying the allegations.

The anti-doping body added that the two-year ban would count from the date of the violation which occurred on April 8, 2023.

Barbosa, who was part of Brazil’s gold medal-winning squad at the 2016 Rio Olympics, can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Flamengo said they were surprised by the verdict and would help the player with an appeal.

“(The club) will assist the athlete in presenting an appeal to CAS, since it understands that there was no fraud, not even an attempt, to justify the punishment applied,” the Brazilian Serie A side said in a statement.

Barbosa, who signed for Flamengo in 2020 from Inter Milan after completing a one-year loan, responded on social media.

“I have never attempted to obstruct or defraud any test, and I trust that I will be cleared by the higher court,” he said in a post on X.

He said through an interpreter that he had never bet on baseball or knowingly paid a bookmaker.

“Since the beginning of my career as a footballer, I have always followed the rules of the game and never used banned substances. I have been subjected to dozens of tests, all of which have always been negative.

“I am disappointed with the outcome of the judgement, but I will continue co-operating with the sporting authorities and trust that my innocence will be proven and re-established by the higher court.”

Barbosa made his Brazil debut in a 2-0 friendly win over Panama in May 2016 and played for his country 18 times, scoring five goals. — Reuters.

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