UEFA bans CSKA’s Eremenko 2 years for cocaine

CSKA's Roman Eremenko celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League Group E match vs. Bayer Leverkusen. Sept. 14, 2016. (Martin Meissner/AP)

MOSCOW — Finland midfielder Roman Eremenko has been banned for two years after he tested positive for cocaine, UEFA said Friday.

Traces of cocaine, which is considered a banned stimulant, were found in a sample Eremenko gave after playing for CSKA Moscow in a Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen in September.

The result of that game, a 2-2 draw, will not be affected by Friday’s ruling even though Eremenko scored CSKA’s second goal.

The two-year ban is backdated to Oct. 6, the date Eremenko was provisionally suspended.

“The club and the player intend to appeal this decision,” CSKA said in a statement on its website. “Further comments will be given once we receive the full text of the decision.”

This month, the Court of Arbitration for Sport gave Algeria forward Youcef Belaili a two-year ban on appeal for cocaine after throwing out a previous four-year sanction on procedural grounds.

Eremenko’s case follows another Champions League doping case last season, when Macedonia midfielder Arijan Ademi was banned for four years when he tested positive for a banned steroid while playing for Dinamo Zagreb against Arsenal in the group stage.

Born in Moscow, the 29-year-old Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented the country 73 times, including in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. He won the Russian league title with CSKA last season and the Ukrainian title with Dynamo Kyiv in 2009.

“We absolutely cannot accept the use of drugs, wherever it may take place,” Marco Casagrande, the chairman of the Finnish Football Association, said in a statement.

“We’re extremely sorry for the actions of Roman Eremenko. Though we condemn the use of drugs, one also has to keep in mind the dimension concerning the individual,” Casagrande added. “Should Roman Eremenko need support to take care of his issues, we’re ready to help.”

CSKA is fourth in the Russian league and last in Group E of the Champions League behind Monaco, Leverkusen and Tottenham.

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