ROME: France’s World Cup winner Paul Pogba is facing the possibility of a lengthy ban after Italy’s anti-doping tribunal called for a four-year suspension for the Juventus midfielder, a club source told AFP on Thursday.
Pogba, 30, was provisionally suspended in September after he tested positive for testosterone.
A month later a B sample confirmed the presence of the substance.
Proceedings by the Italian sports justice system are underway while the Turin public prosecutor’s office has also started a judicial investigation, as doping is a criminal offense in Italy.
“I can confirm that we received this morning this notification from the anti-doping agency with four years (suspension) requested,” the Juve source told AFP.
The 2018 World Cup winner’s sample was reportedly taken at his club’s opening match of the Serie A season, a win at Udinese on August 20, during which he was an unused substitute.
Pogba’s representatives said the testosterone came from a food supplement prescribed by a doctor he consulted in the US.
Under the World Anti-Doping Code, Pogba is liable to a four-year suspension, which could be halved if he proves that he was not at fault.
The ban could even be limited to a few months if the use of the substance took place “out of competition and is not related to his level of performance.”
Since the announcement of his positive test, Pogba has been unable to train with Juventus, the club to which he returned in July 2022 after six seasons with United.
The recommendation from the tribunal is the latest in on and off the field issues for Pogba.
From being on top of the world Pogba has slowly slipped down to the depths, ravaged by injuries and a difficult personal life which he admits has been adversely affected by the vast sums of money earned by football’s top players.
In March 2022, intruders, who included childhood friends, broke into Pobga’s home and held him against his will, demanding 13 million euros ($14 million).
Pogba ended up paying 100,000 euros of the sum and the affair taught him that “the only people who can hurt are the people who are close to you.”
A knee issue kept him sidelined from the 2022 World Cup with France coach Didier Deschamps saying he hoped the playmaker “rediscovers his smile.”
A month after suffering the injury, his brother Mathias released a video in which he threatened to reveal secrets about his superstar sibling.
Juve have also suspended payment of his estimated annual salary of €8 million($8.4 million).