In December 2019 the International Football Federation (FIFA) has reported an anti-doping rule violation against the Paraguayan football player Jesús Amado Rolón Caballero after his A and B samples tested positive for the prohibited substance Higenamine.
After notification the Athlete filed a statement in his defence and he was heard for the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.
The Athlete denied the intentional use of the substance and requested for a reduced sanction due to no fault or negligence. He asserted that had never heard of Higenamine whereas his football team was already eliminated from the competiition at the material time.
He grew up in a poor region of Paraguay within the Guarani community where there is almost no access to most basis needs and education. Further he barely speaks a language other than Guarani and has limited acces to internet.
He stated that within his community the comsumption of infusions made from medicinal plants is very common to prevent and cure differen diseases. Following investigations into the source of the substance he believed that his consumption of these infusions made from natural ingredients - hojas de chirimoyas (custard apple leaves) - were the source of the prohibited substance.
FIFA's expert witness confirmed that the substance can be found in several plants used as traditional medicine in many countries. Yet, he deemed that there was a very low probability that the source of the Athlete's positive test was the consumption of tea made from hojas de chirimoyas.
The Disciplinary Committee finds that the presence of a prohibited substance has been established in the Athlete's samples and accordingly that he committed an anti-doping rule violation.
Considering the evidence in this case the Committee concludes that the Ahtlete's violation was not intentional. However the Committee deems that the Athlete was unable to demonstrate that the source of the substance was the ingestion of infusions made with hojas de chirimoyas.
In view of the circumstances the Committee holds that the Athlete acted with significant fault as he failed to reseach the ingredients of the products he used. Nevertheless the Committee takes into account the Athlete's level of education, his limited access to internet and so limited access to anti-doping information.
Therefore the FIFA Disciplinary Committee decides on 20 May 2020 to impose a 20 month period of ineligibility on the Athlete, starting on the date of the decision.