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

BRASÍLIA: Flamengo's Brazil forward Gabriel Barbosa, known as Gabigol, has been suspended for two years for attempted fraud during a doping test, a Brazilian sports court said on Monday.

Gabigol, 27, was alleged to have made things difficult during a surprise anti-doping test last April at the club's headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.

During the test last year, according to local media, Gabigol failed to comply with the schedule, disrespected the officers, and failed to comply with instructions.

"The aforementioned athlete was tried today by the Full Court of Sports Anti-Doping and, by majority, it was decided that a violation of the anti-doping rule of fraud had occurred," the court said in a statement sent to AFP.

The sanction, which can be appealed, started on April 8, when the events occurred.2nd para

His team-mates underwent testing in the morning, while he ignored a request to be present and attended after lunchtime, according to the accusation.

When he finally arrived to be tested, he reportedly became upset because an officer escorted him to the bathroom.

Furthermore, he did not respect the sample collection protocol.

A key figure in Flamengo's 2019 domestic top-flight league Brasileirao and South America's Copa Libertadores titles, Gabigol denies having tried to cheat in the test.

"The Flamengo player has confirmed that the test has been carried out and the result was negative," his lawyer said in December, when the allegations first surfaced.

"In view of this information, there is nothing that could compromise or violate the protocol," the lawyer added.

Gabigol had disappointing spells at Portugal's Benfica as well as at Inter Milan in Italy having come through Santos' academy before joining Flamengo in 2019.

His return to form for Flamengo earned him call-ups to the Brazil squad and he made the last of his 18 international appearances in January 2022.

Gabigol's contract with Flamengo expires in December with his future at one of Brazil's most popular outfits now in doubt.--AFP

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