Barnsley defender Diaby banned for two years over doping offence

(Reuters) - Barnsley defender Bambo Diaby has been banned for two years after breaching the Football Association’s anti-doping rules, English soccer’s governing body said on Wednesday.

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The FA said that the 22-year-old’s in-competition urine sample provided to it and UK Anti-Doping after Barnsley’s game against Blackburn Rovers on Nov. 23 last year was found to contain the prohibited substance Higenamine.

Championship (second-tier) side Barnsley said in a statement here that Diaby's contract had been terminated by mutual consent.

"While Bambo Diaby admitted the charge, he did not establish how the Higenamine entered his system. As such, an independent Regulatory Commission imposed the mandatory two-year ban," the FA said in a statement here.

It added the Senegalese player’s ban is effective from the date of his provisional suspension on Jan. 17 and would run up to Jan. 16, 2022.

“Despite making sincere efforts to identify the source of the prohibited substance, Diaby has been unable to do so,” Barnsley said.

“Because of this, a two-year mandatory ban has been imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the FA. Diaby wasn’t found guilty of knowingly ingesting a banned substance.”

Diaby said in an open letter here to the club's fans that he was left "devastated" by the ban.

“... I maintain my innocence, something the FA acknowledged themselves, but I must handle this decision with my family and look forward to a brighter future,” he said.

“And you never know what may happen. I will never give in on one day pulling that shirt back on.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge