Due to an alleged violation of the global anti-doping regulation, Senegal winger Keita Balde may be forced to withdraw from the World Cup in Qatar.
In April, Balde was asked to take a drug test while competing for the Italian team Cagliari in a 5-1 loss to Udinese.
The player, who is currently with Spartak Moscow, produced a negative test but was found to have violated procedures. As a result, the Italian National Anti-Doping Organization has suspended him until December 5, which falls in the middle of this winter’s competition (NADO).
According to a statement on Spartak’s website, Balde was disqualified for violating the doping control protocol.
“Nevertheless, in accordance with the disciplinary code, any doping-related sanction applied by another national or international sports association, the national anti-doping organisation, is automatically accepted by FIFA and must be recognized by all confederations and associations.”
The Athletic understands that FIFA is awaiting translated English material from Italy before certifying the NANDO’s procedures and conclusion, even though the punishment is automatic and takes effect right away.
Balde has the option to appeal to the Swiss court while FIFA has the power to intervene and refer the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) said in a statement that it was “closely following the progress of the situation” but anticipated that Balde’s suspension would last until December 22, which is four days after the World Cup championship game.
On November 21, Senegal will face the Netherlands to open their World Cup campaign. Other opponents in Group A for Senegal are Qatar and Ecuador.
On December 3, the knockout stage begins, with the quarterfinals starting four days after Balde’s scheduled suspension ends.
Since making his debut for Senegal in 2016, Balde has amassed 40 caps.