Chioma Ubogagu: Tottenham striker banned for nine months for drug violation
Tottenham forward Chioma Ubogagu has been banned from sport for nine months after an anti-doping violation.
Ubogagu was tested by UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) on 7 October and her sample contained banned substance canrenone.
A Football Association hearing found she did not take the substance deliberately and used it for a “recognised medical condition”.
However, it added Ubogagu had taken “no steps to check if the medication contained banned substances”.
Ubogagu joined Spurs in July 2021 following her departure from Real Madrid and will not be available again until October 2022 because of the ban, which is backdated until January when Ubogagu was provisionally suspended.
“Chioma was prescribed two forms of medication in the United States from a personal doctor to treat acne before signing for the club,” said a Tottenham statement.
“The 29-year-old continued to take the medication to treat her skin condition after she arrived without the knowledge that the medication was prohibited.
“In November 2021, Chioma requested a repeat prescription from the club doctor who alerted the relevant bodies, the FA and UK Anti-Doping, about the use of a banned substance.
“The FA accepts that Chioma did not take the medication, spironolactone, with a view to intentionally securing an illegal advantage.”
Ubogagu said: “I am so sorry to my team-mates and staff that I can’t be out on the pitch.
“I want to make clear that the medication had no performance-enhancing effects for me, but I still made the mistake of not being as diligent as possible, and as a result I am unable to play the game I love until I serve my suspension.
“I plan to share my story and educate others on the severity of what can happen, and I hope I can help other athletes avoid situations like mine in the future.”
In an interview with the Players’ Tribune about the issue, Ubogagu said: “I found out that spironolactone is not performance-enhancing – and to be clear it gave me zero athletic advantage in my sport – but it’s banned because it is a diuretic.
“Basically, it can be used to mask other substances. I had absolutely no idea.”
She praised Tottenham for the support they had provided through a process during which she feared her playing career might be in jeopardy, while also revealing how she felt when telling her team-mates what had happened last month.
“My voice was shaking the entire time and I was so scared of what they would think,” said Ubogagu.
“Their team-mate is admitting to doping, right? But all their concerns were for my health and well-being and once it was out there, it was like I was back in the team again. I didn’t have to hide any more.”