Athletic Club Bilbao will appeal against Carlos Gurpegui's two-season suspension for a positive drugs test.
The punishment was handed down by the Spanish Sports Disciplinary Committee in November 2003 after Gurpegui tested positive for the banned substance 19-norandroterone, a metabolite of the steroid nandrolone. Traces of the substance were found in his urine during a routine doping test after Gurpegui had scored both Athletic goals in a 4-2 home defeat by Real Sociedad de Fútbol on 1 September 2002.
Suspension on hold
The 24-year-old, who in June signed a new three-year contract which increased his buy-out clause to €25m, has been temporarily suspended twice, but both bans were lifted on appeal. However, on Friday morning the Spanish High Court ruled that the player must now serve the two-year ban.
Athletic immediately announced their intention to launch a new appeal, saying in a statement on their website: "Athletic would like to publicly state their complete support for the player, their faith in his innocence and their confidence that this sentence will be reversed by the Supreme Court." The club have 15 days to present their case to the Supreme Court, during which time the sanction will not be enforced.