Barnsley defender Bambo Diaby has been suspended for two years for a doping violation, the Football Association has announced.
The 22-year-old was charged after providing a urine sample last November which tested positive for higenamine, which is a natural stimulant but is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances.
An independent regulatory commission imposed the mandatory two-year ban on Wednesday and the Championship club confirmed that the player’s contract has been terminated.
Diaby admitted the charge, the FA said, but did not establish how the substance entered his system. The suspension is effective from the date of the player’s provisional suspension on January 17, 2020 and will run up to and including January 16, 2022.
Bambo Diaby's investigation has concluded.— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) October 7, 2020
The FA also published the written reasons in the case, which mentioned that Diaby initially thought the consumption of throat lozenges (Strepsils) could explain the adverse finding.
Diaby was unable to establish that there had been no fault or negligence, so a two-year ban had to be imposed.
He was also ordered to meet the costs of the hearing, listed as £1,680.
The commission stated: “It goes almost without saying that this will have major personal and financial consequences for him and those members of his family that he supports.
“We are very sensitive to that reality and even had we been asked to consider the imposition of a fine in addition to the sanction agreed and order for costs made (which, very fairly, we were not) we should record that we would not have imposed one.”
Diaby provided a sample after Barnsley’s match against Blackburn on November 23, 2019.
Higenamine was described in the written reasons as a “fat-burner”.
The panel were satisfied that Diaby had not taken the substance intentionally, in which case a four-year ban would have been issued.
An open letter from Diaby was published on Barnsley’s website, with the player expressing sadness at the ban.
“I am devastated with the news that I have received which means I cannot return to play football until 2022,” he said.
“This has been such a long process but I had remained upbeat and inspired by the support and backing from the club. They supported me from day one of my charge and I am so grateful for that.
“I have been inundated with messages of support from Reds fans throughout this ordeal and you will never appreciate just how much this meant to me during a difficult time.
“From my first moment at this great club, I was welcomed with open arms by staff, players and the whole community of Barnsley. I made this place my home and was looking forward to many years playing for the town and its people.”
"I will never give in on one day pulling that shirt back on."— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) October 7, 2020
Barnsley released a statement on Wednesday, which read: “Despite making sincere efforts to identify the source of the prohibited substance, Bambo Diaby has been unable to do so.
“Because of this, a two-year mandatory ban has been imposed by WADA and the FA. Bambo Diaby was not found guilty of knowingly ingesting a banned substance.
“Both Bambo Diaby and Barnsley FC have been honest and compliant throughout the process. However, following the outcome, regretfully Bambo Diaby’s contract has been consensually terminated.
“Barnsley Football Club would like to thank Bambo for his contributions whilst at Oakwell.”
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