in December 2021 the International Football Federation (FIFA) has reported an anti-doping rule violation against the Ivorian football player Sylvain Gbohouo after his sample tested positive for the prohibited substance Trimetazidine. After notification a provisional suspension was ordered. The Athlete filed a statement in his defence and he was heard for the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.
The Athlete accepted the test result and denied the intentional use of the substance. He explained with medical evidence that he suffered from and eye diseas and used prescribed medication Vastarel as treatment. He asserted that he and his ophtalmologist were unaware that it contained the prohibited substance Trimetazidine.
The Athlete challenged the classification of Trimetazidine on the Prohibited List and asserted that he had not been able to request the analysis of the B-sample. Further he argued that the strict liability rule in doping related mattters violates the presumption of innocence and thus is contrary to the ECHR.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee assessed the Athlete's objections and deems that:
- Under the FIFA ADR 2021 it is competent regarding anti-doping rule violations and the imposition of sanctions.
- The FIFA ADR clearly contains a reference to the WADC Prohibited List and makes it clear that all players are bound by this list.
- The Court of Arbitration (CAS) has constantly applied the principle of strict liability as confirmed by the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
- The 12 hour time limit to request analysis of the B sample started when the Athlete was notified on 28 December 2021 while he was with the Ivorian National team in Saudi Arabia.
- The presence of the prohibited substance Trimetazidine has been established in the Athlete's sample and accordingly under the FIFA ADR that he committed an anti-doping rule violation.
In view of the medical evidence the Committee accepts that the Athlete's violation was not intentional due to the medication prescribed by an ophthalmologist. Yet, he failed to check his medication and shifted the responsibility of his violation on the doctor / ophtalmologist who prescribed the medication Vastarel. Considering the Athlete's conduct in this case the Committee concludes that he acted with a normal degree of fault rather than significant.
Therefore the FIFA Disciplinary Committee decides on 27 April 2022 to impose an 18 month period of ineligibility on the Athlete, starting on the date of the provisional suspension, i.e. on 23 December 2021.