Maximum four-year ban sought for Pogba in doping case

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In this file photo, Juventus’ Paul Pogba controls the ball during an Italian Cup soccer match between Internazionale and Juventus, at the Giuseppe Meazza San Siro Stadium, in Milan, Italy. (AP )

ROME, Dec 7 (AP): Anti-doping prosecutors in Italy requested a maximum four-year ban for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba on Thursday after the World Cup winner tested positive for testosterone.
Pogba opted not to make a plea bargain with Italy’s anti-doping agency, meaning the case will be tried before the country’s anti-doping court.

If the four-year ban is confirmed, it could end the 30-year-old Pogba’s career.
Four-year bans are standard under the World Anti-Doping Code but can be reduced in cases where an athlete can prove their doping was not intentional, if the positive test was a result of contamination or if they provide “substantial assistance” to help investigators.

Pogba’s positive test was announced in September, stemming from an exam that was carried out after Juventus’ game at Udinese on Aug. 20. Pogba did not play in the Serie A match but was on Juve’s bench.
Pogba has made no public comments on the case.

“Humanely, I’m sorry for Paul,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said in October.
The doping case is another negative note for a player who has been bothered by injuries ever since rejoining Juventus from Manchester United in July of last year. He was ruled out of France’s run to the World Cup final last year due to a knee injury, played in only six Serie A matches for Juventus last season and two this season.

There’s also been a police investigation ongoing in France into allegations that Pogba was targeted by extortionists – including by his older brother Mathias, who has denied any wrongdoing.
Pogba scored for France in the 4-2 win over Croatia in the 2018 World Cup final. He played in 178 matches for Juventus from 2012-16.

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