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OLYMPIC champion footballer Gabriel Barbosa (pix) has been banned for two years by Brazil’s Anti-Doping Sports Court of Justice in connection with a doping test procedure last year, reported German news agency (dpa).

In a 5-4 ruling, the judges on Monday deemed Barbosa guilty of fraud for delaying an out-of-competition test at his club Flamengo in April 2023, with the ban imposed until April 2025.

Striker Barbosa protested his innocence and said he would appeal the ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), insisting that “despite my respect for the court, I never tried to obstruct or fraud a test, and I trust the higher court to exonerate me”.

Flamengo said they would support Barbosa’s CAS appeal, naming the verdict a surprise and expressing their belief that “no fraud, and not even an attempted fraud, took place which would justify the imposed sanction”. -Bernama