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Brazil Striker Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa Suspended For Two Years Over Anti-Doping Fraud Allegations

Brazil striker ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa says he will appeal the judgement banning him following anti-doping fraud allegations.

In a startling turn of events, Flamengo and Brazil striker Gabriel Barbosa, widely known as ‘Gabigol’, has been handed a two-year suspension for attempted anti-doping fraud, casting a shadow over his illustrious career.

Reports from local media outlets suggest that the 27-year-old footballer created obstacles to hinder the administration of an anti-doping test the day before a scheduled match. Barbosa vehemently denies these allegations, asserting his innocence and expressing confidence in being vindicated by the higher court.

Barbosa, in a statement shared on social media, said, “I have never attempted to obstruct or defraud any test, and I trust that I will be cleared by the higher court.

“Since the beginning of my career as a footballer, I have always followed the rules of the game and never used banned substances.”

“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.”

Despite his protestations, the Brazilian Doping Control Authority announced that Barbosa was found guilty of violating anti-doping regulations pertaining to attempted fraud by the Anti-Doping Sports Court of Justice, leading to the imposition of a two-year ban. This suspension takes effect from the date of the violation, which occurred on April 8, 2023.

The timing of the verdict is particularly significant, as it coincides with the commencement of the Brazilian Serie A season on April 14, rendering Barbosa ineligible to participate for the entirety of the campaign. However, he is expected to be available for the commencement of the 2025 season.

Flamengo, Barbosa’s club, expressed surprise at the verdict and pledged to support the player in appealing the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

In a statement, the club said, “(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.”

Gabriel Barbosa, renowned for his pivotal role in Flamengo’s successes, including scoring the winning goal in the 2022 Copa Libertadores final, now faces a significant challenge in clearing his name and restoring his reputation amidst these allegations.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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