EMPOLI, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 3: Paul Labile Pogba of Juventus in action during the Serie A TIM match between Empoli FC and Juventus at Stadio Carlo Castellani on September 3, 2023 in Empoli, Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Paul Pogba Faces Potential Four-Year Ban After Second Anti-Doping Test Failure

Paul Pogba, the 30-year-old former Manchester United star and 2018 World Cup winner, now faces a potential four-year suspension.

The initial test administered by the Italian anti-doping agency (Nado) had indicated the presence of testosterone metabolites. On Friday, Pogba received confirmation that the analysis of his B sample, conducted the previous day, yielded identical results.

Amidst these developments, Pogba’s inner circle has refrained from making any public comments.

As per the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Code, Pogba faces the potential of a four-year suspension. However, this penalty could be halved if he can establish that he is not culpable. Moreover, the ban could be significantly reduced if it can be demonstrated that the substance use occurred “out of competition and is not related to his level of performance.”

Last month, representatives of Pogba asserted that the testosterone presence was attributed to a dietary supplement prescribed by a U.S.-based doctor. Testosterone is known for its muscle development properties.

When contacted by AFP, Nado was unable to verify this information, citing a decision by the Italian privacy authority.

Pogba now has a seven-day window to present his defense to Italy’s National Anti-Doping Tribunal. This tribunal will conduct an investigation into his case and subsequently request a suitable sanction, a process that may span several weeks.

In addition to the sporting justice proceedings in Italy, the Turin public prosecutor’s office is set to initiate a judicial investigation, as doping is considered a criminal offense in the country.

Since the revelation of his positive test, Pogba has been sidelined from training with Juventus, the club he rejoined in July 2022 after a six-season stint with Manchester United.

This shocking news arrived shortly before Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri’s press conference ahead of the Turin derby against Torino. Allegri expressed his condolences, stating, “I didn’t know about the confirmation; I am sorry. We are waiting for what’s coming next; it’s useless to comment now. Humanly, I am sorry.”

Juventus has refrained from issuing an official statement on Pogba’s situation and has also suspended payment of his estimated annual salary of €8 million until 2026.

Pogba’s woes began this season as he aimed to recover from a series of injuries suffered during the previous campaign and subsequent surgery. His sample was reportedly taken during Juventus’ opening Serie A match against Udinese on August 20, in which he remained an unused substitute.

Upon the initial positive test result on September 11, Pogba’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, had commented, “We are awaiting the second sample and cannot have an opinion before the results. What is certain is that Paul Pogba never wanted to break a rule.”

The positive doping test was initially attributed to a dietary supplement prescribed by a U.S.-based doctor, according to Pogba’s entourage.

In the wake of his suspension, Pogba has not featured in any matches for Juventus, and his future in the sport remains uncertain.

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