Ivorian goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo has been suspended until June 23, 2023, after testing positive for the banned drug trimetazidine, Fifa's disciplinary committee announced on Monday.
The Ivorian Football Federation revealed in mid-January that the 33-year-old goalkeeper had been provisionally suspended for doping just before his first CAN match against Equatorial Guinea.
trimetazidine, a molecule banned since 2014 by the World Anti-Doping Agency, is classified as a "metabolic modulator" because it would improve blood circulation and was recently brought back into the news by the positive test of the young Russian skater Kamila Valieva before the Beijing Olympics.
Gbohouo, the Elephants' No.1 goalkeeper tested positive after Côte d'Ivoire's 1-0 loss to Cameroon in the World Cup 2022 qualifier.
According to the disciplinary decision, the 2015 African champion goalkeeper explained that he had suffered from vision problems and had been sent by the medical team of his selection to an ophthalmologist, who prescribed Vastarel, a drug whose active ingredient is trimetazidine, on 29 March 2021.
The aim was "to improve his retinal blood flow", said the player, who "stopped the treatment after a month and a half" for lack of improvement. He said he was not aware that the product was banned and denied any intention to dop.
While WADA normally provides for a four-year suspension for a positive test, Fifa's disciplinary committee ruled that the Ivorian goalkeeper had "unintentionally" ingested the banned substance and had not committed any "significant" fault, reducing his sanction to 18 months from 23 December 2021.