Chinese Drug-taking Soccer Player Punished
2003-12-21 20:51:18
A Chinese footballer has been suspended for three months by his club after testing positive for the banned substance Ephedrine.

It is the first case of doping in the country's professional football league.

The news came after FIFA president Sepp Blatter said last week that world football's governing body might consider imposing permanent bans on any player caught taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Defender Zhang Shuai of Beijing Hyundai team tested positive for ephedrine in a random check last week. He was required to undergo a second screening for confirmation, and the results were also positive.

The 22-year-old defender, who was also a prospect for China's Olympic team, protested his innocence, claiming he accidentally ingested the substance in a cold remedy.

However, after the results of his second test came out last weekend, his club decided to suspend him for three months. He also received a fine of 50,000 yuan, or 6,000 US dollars.

Meanwhile, Zhang Shuai's coach, team manager and doctor were also fined.

And now, the up and coming football star's fate is at the hands of the China Football Association, which is still deciding a suitable punishment.

Dong Hua is the Association's spokesman,

" Whatever the results are, we hope all Chinese football clubs, coaches and players can learn from this painful lesson."

According to China Football Association's anti-doping code, any player who tests positive for performance enhancing drugs will receive a two to four-year suspension and a fine of up to 1,200 US dollars.

But insiders say the sentence could be more lenient if it is proved that Zhang Shuai took the banned substance by accident. (Yang Binyuan)

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