The governing body of South American soccer says Brazil midfielder Fred has been banned for one year for doping.
The 22-year-old tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide – a known masking agent for performance-enhancing drugs – in June, during Brazil’s Copa America campaign in Chile.
News of the test was revealed in the summer, though an official ban for the player had not been put into place until now.
He said in a statement at the time, according to BBC, “I trust in my innocence and I am going to prove it to the proper authorities,” however his ban is now active and will date back to July, after news of the failed test initially broke.
Significantly, however, the player is still able to play for Shakhtar and the ban will only be effective, essentially, for international matches. So he will be unable to represent Brazil until next summer.
World football’s governing body, FIFA, could opt enforce the ban themselves too and stop Fred featuring for his club, though there is no official word on that as yet. The player has also been handed a $5k fine by his federation but still has the opportunity to appeal.
CONMEBOL secretary Francisco Figueredo Britez has confirmed the ban is in effect until June 26, 2016.
If FIFA extends the ban worldwide, it would effectively rule Fred out of league play for only four months.
Because of the Ukrainian league’s winter break, Shakhtar’s next competitive match is February 18 in the Europa League.