Pogba To Appeal Four-Year Ban, Denies Doping Allegation

France star Paul Pogba has been banned from football for four years by Italy’s anti-doping tribunal after testing positive for testosterone last August, his club Juventus announced on Thursday.

A club spokeswoman told AFP that it had been advised of the judgment against the 30-year-old World Cup winner, who had been provisionally suspended in September.

“We received notification from the tribunal this morning,” the spokesman said. Italy’s anti-doping body did not immediately respond when contacted by AFP.

Pogba announced he would appeal the ruling, which risks bringing a premature end to his career.

“I am sad, shocked and heartbroken that everything I have built in my professional playing career has been taken away from me,” he posted on Instagram.

Declaring the verdict was “incorrect”, he denied ever using performance-enhancing substances.

“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”, he insisted.

“As a consequence of the decision announced today I will appeal this before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

Pogba won’t be eligible to play again until the 2027/28 season, when he’ll be 34.

Anti-doping prosecutors had requested a four-year punishment for the former Manchester United midfielder, who tested positive following Juventus’ opening match of the Italian Serie A season against Udinese on August 20, in which he was an unused substitute.

A month later, a B sample confirmed the presence of testosterone, and he has been provisionally suspended since.

Pogba’s agents stated that the testosterone came from a dietary supplement prescribed by a doctor he saw in the United States.

The sentence might have been reduced to two years if Pogba could have demonstrated he was not at fault, or even a few months if the substance was used “out of competition and (was) not related to his level of performance”.

Pogba, who returned to Juventus for a second term in 2022 after six years at Manchester United, was a vital player of France’s World Cup-winning squad in Russia in 2018, scoring in the final against Croatia.

His failing doping test occurred as he was attempting to move on from a difficult first season back at Juve, in which he struggled with fitness and made only 10 appearances, as well as missing France’s World Cup defence in Qatar due to injury.

He made two substitute appearances for Juventus at the start of the season before being suspended.


 Extortion attempt

Meanwhile, Pogba, a young player at Le Havre before making his first move to Old Trafford at the age of 16 in 2009, has struggled with off-field troubles.

An inquiry is underway in France regarding an extortion attempt against him in March 2022, which entailed a break-in at his residence in the Paris suburbs.

Two intruders allegedly detained Pogba against his will, demanding 13 million euros ($14.1 million at current rates).

Pogba’s older brother Mathias, as well as family friends from their youth, are among the suspects in the case.

His deal with Juventus is for a reputed eight million euros ($8.7 million) per season and continues until 2026.

However, he has been unable to train since the revelation of the positive test, and Juve has halted his income.

Pogba had only a few games in his initial stay in England before becoming a Juventus sensation from 2012 to 2016.

During that period, he won four consecutive Serie A titles and was part of the Juventus team that lost to Barcelona in the 2015 Champions League final.

He returned to Manchester United in 2016 for 105 million euros, a world record at the time, and won the Europa League and League Cup in his first season back under Jose Mourinho.

Pogba has 91 caps for France and featured in the Euro 2016 final before winning the World Cup two years later.

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