Keita Balde is set to miss Senegal’s World Cup campaign in Qatar this winter after breaching worldwide anti-doping policy.
The winger was called to give a drugs test after Cagliari – the Italian side he left in the summer to join Russian outfit Spartak Moscow – lost 5-1 to Udinese in April.
The 27-year-old returned a negative result; but in a statement on their website, Spartak confirmed Balde had still been adjudged to have broken protocol and has consequently been suspended by the Italian National Anti-Doping Court.
The ban is effective immediately and runs until early December, with his country’s three World Cup Group A fixtures all taking place in late November.
A Spartak statement read: “Midfielder Keita Balde has been suspended by the Italian National Anti-Doping Court until December 5, due to a doping violation while playing for Cagliari.
“A sample taken from Keita that day found no banned substances. However, in accordance with the disciplinary code, any doping-related sanction imposed by another national or international sports association, national anti-doping organisation, is automatically accepted by FIFA and must be recognised by all confederations and associations.
“Accordingly, the sanction applied by the Italian Anti-Doping Organisation is subject to recognition by the RFU.
“Under the terms of the disqualification, the player will be able to return to the training process no earlier than 22 days before the expiration of the sentence.”
Sportsmail have contacted Balde’s representatives for comment.
Balde’s 38-minute substitute appearance for Spartak earlier this month in the 2-1 defeat by Zenit St Petersburg will therefore be the only chance he gets to play for his new side until early December, but he can return to training 22 days before the end of his ban.
Aliou Cisse’s men – who went out of the group stages at the 2018 World Cup after finishing third – face Holland, hosts Qatar and Ecuador in their three group matches this time. – Sportsmail