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Tottenham’s Chioma Ubogagu gets nine-month ban over banned substance

Chioma Ubogagu playing for Tottenham
Chioma Ubogagu provided a positive test after being prescribed a new drug by her dermatologist. Photograph: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images

The Tottenham and England forward Chioma Ubogagu has apologised after she was suspended from football for nine months for taking a banned substance.

Ubogagu, 29, was found to have consumed Canrenone, a prohibited substance often used as a masking agent, as part of an anti-acne treatment. A Football Association hearing found that Ubogagu had used the substance innocently but should have checked with authorities that it was appropriate for use.

Her suspension was announced after the end of a disciplinary process but has been in place since the beginning of the year and will run until October, after the start of the Women’s Super League season. “I am so sorry to my teammates and staff that I can’t be out on the pitch,” Ubogagu said. “The club has been fully supportive throughout this entire process, and I am so appreciative of all their help. My faith, family and close friends have helped me immensely in this difficult time. I am eager to be back soon now that this has been resolved.

“I want to make clear that the medication had no performance-enhancing effects for me, but I still made the mistake of not being as diligent as possible, and as a result I am unable to play the game I love until I serve my suspension. While my dermatologist is aware of my profession, it is also my responsibility to know more about the medications I am prescribed.”

Ubogagu, who was born in London but moved to Texas as a child and was educated in the US, joined Spurs from Real Madrid last summer and has three England caps, the most recent of which came in March 2019. On 7 October 2021 she gave a urine sample that was found to test positive for Canrenone. A disciplinary process was undertaken which ended on 22 April.

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An FA regulatory commission investigating the case found that Ubogagu had experienced nodulocystic acne for most of her life and had been prescribed a new drug by her dermatologist in Texas. Although the commission ruled that the player should have done more to establish it was safe to take the medicine, it also found she had acted without “significant” fault or negligence. She had also cooperated fully with authorities and the commission’s judgment reduced Ubogagu’s punishment from a standard two-year ban.

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