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After failing dope test, Subrata Pal gets three weeks to present case

The former Indian captain could receive a four-year ban if he loses the case.

Subrata Pal has three weeks to present his case

What’s the story?

After failing a drug test conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), Indian goalkeeper Subrata Pal has been given three weeks to present his case to an anti-doping panel, announced the chief of NADA on Wednesday, according to Reuters

The context

In a test conducted by NADA in March this year, the Arjuna Awardee’s ‘A’ samples tested positive for Terbutaline, a substance deemed prohibited according to the World Anti-Doping Agency List. Terbutaline is taken when people have trouble breathing or for medical conditions such as asthma and is commonly found in cough syrups.

The heart of the matter

As per NADA protocol, after the first sample is examined to check for irregularities, prescriptions termed Therapeutic Use Exemption are checked. On failing the dope test, the player is notified along with National Federation (AIFF), the International Federation (FIFA) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Following the test, neither did the former India captain, who is suffering from a bronchial problem, apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption nor did he exercise the option of getting his ‘B’ sample tested. According to local media, Pal blamed the results of the test on a cough syrup.

Also read: I-League 2017: Subrata Pal's fall from grace

Questions were raised after he refused to take his ‘B’ sample test while the player sought more time to prepare his defense.

The Reuter’s report states that he is free to play until a final decision is made since the substance does not require immediate suspension, according to NADA chief Navin Agarwal.

What’s next?

Following protocol, NADA usually provisionally suspends the athlete based on further investigations until an official hearing by a disciplinary panel under a retired High Court judge is scheduled, but the suspension has been deemed unnecessary in this case as the substance only features on a specified list of banned substances.

The NADA chief stated in the report that the panel would be setting a date for the hearing after Pal has made the required submissions. Losing this battle may lead to a career threatening 4-year ban for the 30-year-old footballer.

Author’s Take

A veteran on the football field, Pal was India’s number one choice for a while before slipping behind Gurpreet Sigh Sandhu recently. India has matches with Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan lined up in the next month and fans are curious to find out what’s in store for Pal.

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