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ISL 2022-23: Ashutosh Mehta of ATK Mohun Bagan fails dope test; banned for 2 years

Ashutosh Mehta has failed a dope test. As a result, he is the first ISL player to be handed a ban for the same by the NADA's Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel. He flunked the dope test and has been banned for two years.

football Ashutosh Mehta of ATK Mohun Bagan fails dope test; banned for 2 years-ayh
First Published Sep 22, 2022, 9:03 AM IST

Indian international defender Ashutosh Mehta, who plays for Indian giants ATK Mohun Bagan, has become the first Indian Super League (ISL) player to be handed a ban for doping. He has been suspended for a couple of years by the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for flopping a dope test. Mehta tested positive for morphine (narcotics) -- specified substance -- during the in-competition test conducted on February 8 as he played an ISL match in Goa. The 31-year-old player had also initially accepted a provisional suspension on June 24, which was optional in his case. Mehta implored that he did not intend to consume a narcotic substance and wanted the usefulness of a vital assistance clause.

In his defence, Mehta claimed that his team member "allegedly administered him with opium, a source of morphine in the form of 'Kaala Daba' [which translates to 'Black Medicine'] in the pretext of it being an Ayurvedic Medicine". Meanwhile, in its order, the NADA panel wrote, " is held that the athlete has violated Art 2.1 and 2.2 of NADA ADR 2021. Furthermore, the panel believes that the anti-doping violation was unintentional. We accordingly hold that the athlete is liable for a period of ineligibility of two years."


The NADA Panel demanded that Mehta should be given credit for his temporary suspension. NADA handed former Indian goalkeeper Subrata Pual a similar interim suspension in 2017 after having tested positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition test conducted during a national camp. However, he was let off later with caution after proving that his dope violation was not intentional. During that time, Paul played for I-League side DSK Shivajians, although he did play in the ISL the year before.

(With inputs from PTI)

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