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Other SportsPaul Pogba: France coach Deschamps stands behind banned midfielder

Paul Pogba: France coach Deschamps stands behind banned midfielder

France boss Didier Deschamps is confident Paul Pogba did not take a banned substance intentionally and admits the midfielder’s four-year ban from football “saddens him”.

Pogba was yesterday handed the sanction by Italy’s National Anti-Doping Tribunal after testing positive for testosterone following Juventus’ 3-0 win over Udinese on August 20, 2023.

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The 30-year-old said he would contest the verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and insisted he had “never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations”.

Deschamps backed that stance, telling L’Equipe: “I don’t believe for a minute that Pogba intended to or wanted to dope. Knowing him well, I know that is not how he is. 

“What Paul has experienced these past months has been extremely difficult and I can’t be insensitive to his pain, given what he has done with the national team and the relationships that have been formed with the France national team.”

Pogba has won 91 caps for his country and was a key player in their World Cup triumph in Russia in 2018.

Unless the ruling is overturned, it is inconceivable he will play for Les Bleus again.

Deschamps added: “His situation saddens me and I really hope that things will work out. I want to believe that in any case.

“The presence of an illegal substance is incontestable. That’s the problem for Paul and he will have to lead the fight to defend himself.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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