Two-year drugs ban for Celta's Everton

September 28, 2005

MADRID, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Celta Vigo midfielder Everton Giovanella has been banned for two years for a positive drug test but the player is unlikely to serve the punishment immediately as his club is appealing against the decision.

The Spanish Football Federation's Competitions Committee followed the recommendation of judge Jose Luis Carretero who was investigating the case and decided to approve a two-year ban.

The 35-year-old Brazilian tested positive for a metabolite of the banned steroid nandrolone in December 2004 in a random test after a second division match against Pontevedra.

He has denied that he knowingly took any drug and has said that if necessary he will go to court to prove his innocence.

Giovanella recorded a level of 3.7 nanograms per litre of 19-norandrosterone. The permitted limit is two nanograms.

Celta will ask for the ban to be lifted while they appeal against the decision, basing their argument on a study by the Word Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that suggests that urine samples can generate high levels of 19-norandrosterone if they are not properly stored.

Athletic Bilbao midfielder Carlos Gurpegi tested positive for 19-norandrosterone at the start of the 2002-2003 season but has not yet received a definitive sanction after taking the case to court.

The 25-year-old, who is a fixture in the Bilbao first team, and his club say they have proof he produces the substance naturally as a consequence of physical exercise.