Brazil's Gabigol free to play as CAS suspend two-year ban

football30 April 2024 17:03| © AFP
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Gabriel Barbosa © Gallo Images

Brazilian international Gabriel Barbosa can return to play for Flamengo after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday suspended a two-year ban against him in a doping case.

Known as Gabigol, the 27-year-old was suspended by the Brazilian Anti-Doping Sports Court in March for attempted fraud during a doping test.

It was alleged the player was uncooperative during a surprise doping test at club headquarters in Rio de Janeiro in April last year.

The striker took the matter to Swiss-based CAS who decided to authorise him to play while awaiting the end of the procedure.

On Tuesday, CAS said that a panel of arbitrators had "issued an order granting the request to stay the execution of the challenged decision" filed by the player.

"Consequently, the 24-month suspension imposed on Gabriel Barbosa Almeida by the Brazilian Anti-Doping Tribunal is stayed until the conclusion of the CAS arbitration," the statement added.

It is alleged that on the testing day, Gabigol's teammates underwent testing in the morning while he ignored a request to be present and attended after lunchtime.

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, according to the accusation.

A key figure in Flamengo's 2019 domestic league and Copa Libertadores titles, Gabigol has consistently denied having tried to cheat in the test.

After coming through Santos' academy, Gabigol had disappointing spells at Portugal's Benfica as well as at Inter Milan in Italy 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.