Chile defender Cereceda suspended for doping

SANTIAGO - Chile defender Roberto Cereceda has been suspended after testing positive for cocaine and an appeal been put in motion, his club Colo Colo said on Tuesday.

Cereceda, who learnt of the doping result while on tour with Chile in the Middle East two weeks ago, tested positive for cocaine after a Copa Sudamericana match away to Bolivia's Universitario in Sucre in August.

The South American Football Confederation (CSF), which decided on Monday night on a provisional suspension pending a hearing, said Cereceda had 21 days to appeal.

The Paraguay-based CSF decided to "provisionally suspend the player Roberto Cereceda from all football related activity," the CSF said in a statement published by Colo Colo on their website.

"Cereceda was positive (for cocaine) in the first sample and the second."

The 26-year-old full-back's contract with Colo Colo concludes at the end of this season but the Chilean champions said they would support him through his appeal.

Local media said Cereceda's defence would be centred on his having drunk coca leaf tea, a legal activity common in Bolivia to combat altitude sickness. However, Colo Colo doctor Roberto Yanez was quoted as saying that if he did, it was not with the club's knowledge.

"Our main concern is to prepare the best defence possible and be able, in a responsible manner, to defend the player and attempt to get the smallest sanction possible," club president Guillermo Mackenna told the website.

CSF sources said Cereceda faced a suspension of up to two years.

Despite the positive test coming to light on Oct. 8, Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa fielded Cereceda in friendlies against the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

The defender converted a penalty in the 2-0 win over UAE in Abu Dhabi on October 9.


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