Athletic Club Bilbao midfield player Carlos Gurpegi has been handed a two-year ban by the Spanish Sports Disciplinary Committee after testing positive for a banned substance.
Traces of 19-norandroterone, a metabolite of the steroid nandrolone, were found in the player's urine during a doping test after the player had scored both Athletic's goals in the 4-2 home defeat by Real Sociedad de Fútbol on 1 September 2002.
Gurpegi was originally suspended in February, when the investigation began, but the ban was temporarily lifted at the start of April following a club appeal. In May, the Spanish Football Federation imposed a two-year suspension only to lift the penalty after another appeal pending further inquiries.
The Basque club have consistently complained about the way the case has been handled by the football authorities, saying that the rights of the player were contravened by suspending him before the case was fully resolved.
Athletic officials said in March that studies the club had commissioned from the University of Extremadura showed the player produced the substance naturally and had not taken it from an external source.
They explained that tests had been carried out on the player before and after a league match against Real Valladolid at the end of December 2002 that showed levels of the substance had changed significantly as a result of physical exercise
Appeal in motion
The 23-year-old together with his legal advisers, has already drawn up an appeal, which even if unsuccessful, may help to postpone the sanction being enforced.
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