Brazil’s Gabigol handed two-year ban for anti-doping ‘fraud’

Former Santos, Inter, Benfica and current Flamengo star striker Gabriel Barbosa nicknamed Gabigol has been sentenced a two year ban from Football for committing anti-doping fraud.

Brazil’s Gabigol handed two-year ban for anti-doping ‘fraud’
Gabriel Barbosa (Credits- FIFA)

The current Seleção international, who has donned the famous green 18 times and scored 5 goals for the samba stars was dished out a two year ban from football. He was found guilty of having done some form of fraud which had ended up derailing and had caused hindrance in the control process of doping. This implies that the front man had made it difficult to carry out anti-doping tests, even if those would have turned out to be negative in the end.

Those deliberate efforts to avoid and get way with testing were brought to light in Monday's ruling. As per Globo, Gabi was the only player who ended up having a delay in taking an anti-doping test on April 8, 2023. While he did eventually ended up taking the said examination in question, he was found to have ignored due procedures and instructions causing inconvenience and was also reported to have treated the team involved with disrespect. Seven witnesses gave testimony in Monday's trial, as well as Gabigol, with the eventual verdict going 5:4 against the Flamengo star.

Brazil’s Gabigol handed two-year ban for anti-doping ‘fraud’
Gabriel Barbosa (Credits- Inter Milan Official)

In response to the decision of said hearing, a statement which was released on Monday by Flamengo, Gabigol's  current club and employers read as follows: "Clube de Regatas do Flamengo, taking note of the result of the trial of its athlete Gabriel Barbosa. In the sense of applying a 2-year suspension sentence, until April 2025, by 5 votes for conviction and 4 for acquittal, goes public to say that it received the aforementioned decision with surprise. And it will assist the athlete in presenting an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), as it understands that there was no type of fraud, not even an attempt, to justify the punishment applied."

Brazil’s Gabigol handed two-year ban for anti-doping ‘fraud’
Gabriel Barbosa (Credits- Benfica Official)

As it is clearly evident by the manner in which they have responded to the aforementioned verdict, Flamengo's Gabigol plans to appeal the decision. However, he should count his lucky stars as he could have been handed out a harsher punishment, as Globo informs that a conviction for anti-doping fraud carries a maximum punishment of a four-year ban.

If Gabigol's appeal is not successful, Flamengo would have to do without his services for a while as he would be away from the game due to his suspension, with the two-year sentence ending on April 8, 2025. 

Globo writes that the reason for this being less than two years after the date of ruling (March 25, 2024) is that the penalty technically came into effect at the time of the anti-doping tests in question, back on April 8, 2023. This means that even though his sentence on paper is that of a 2 year ban, he might only be out for a season but everyone involved with club and the player themselves would be hoping that their appeal to the said decision would turn out in their favour and Gabriel could start playing again as soon as possible. 

Brazil’s Gabigol handed two-year ban for anti-doping ‘fraud’
Gabriel Barbosa (Credits-

It is to be noted that this is not the end of the road for Gabigol as many have emerged victorious from much harsher punishments and many famous stars at the top level in the past have overcome these verdicts. In hindsight these decisions turned out to be nothing but a speed bump in their career. However, a good decision considering it has set the precedence to keep the sport as clean as possible. 

Pep Guardiola, Rio Ferdinand, Diego Maradona, Adrian Mutu were among some well known superstars of yesteryears that have been involved in doping related issues in the past. Gabriel would hope that his name is taken among such illustrious list of people only when sporting achievements are being talked of in the future though.

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