Chioma Ubogagu of Tottenham Hotspur is banned from football for 9 months, blames herself for anti-doping violation

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Tottenham Hotspur forward, Chioma Ubogagu has blamed herself after she was found guilty of an anti-doping violation in the United Kingdom.

The Nigerian-born British footballer was slammed with 9 months ban after UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) found her guilty of taking a drug that contains a banned substance known as canrenone.

After the FA announced her ban, Chioma Ubogagu who has made three international appearances with England women’s football national team, apologized to her teammates and staff at Tottenham Hotspur.

Chioma Ubogagu made her senior international debut with England on 8 November 2018.
Chioma Ubogagu made her senior international debut with England on 8 November 2018.

In her statement, Chioma Ubogagu stressed that the banned substance she took did not have performance-enhancing effects on her.

Chioma revealed that she was taking the medication to treat skin-related illnesses and never knew it contained a banned substance. Hence, the 29-year-old English footballer who played for the United States youth teams between 2008 and 2015 blamed herself for not diligently checking the content of the medication.

“I am so sorry to my teammates and staff that I can’t be out on the pitch”, Chioma Ubogagu said.

“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.

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“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.”

Before she made the above statement, Chioma Ubogagu had an interview with the Players’ Tribune about the anti-doping violation. In the interview, the 29-year-old English footballer stressed that the substance in the medication she took was banned because it increases the rate of urine excretion.

Chioma revealed that she was so scared when it was confirmed that there was a banned substance in her body, but appreciated Tottenham Hotspur for their support.

“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”, Chioma Ubogagu said.

“Basically, it can be used to mask other substances. I had absolutely no idea”.

On how she felt when she first tried to explain the scandal to her teammates, Chioma said: “My voice was shaking the entire time and I was so scared of what they would think.

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“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 on the team again. I didn’t have to hide anymore.”

What happened to Chioma Ubogagu?

What happened to Chioma Ubogagu?

Chioma Ubogagu has been battling a skin-related illness since she was playing for a women’s football club in the United States known as Orlando Pride between 2017 and 2019, a couple of years after she left Arsenal.

A doctor in the US prescribed two drugs for the treatment of the illness, one of which was spironolactone. Chioma continued to take the medication after she joined Tottenham Hotspur from Real Madrid in 2021.

Unfortunately for her, the drug contained a banned substance which means that an athlete was not expected to consume it.

On 7 October 2021, Chioma Ubogagu who was born in London, England to Nigerian parents and grew up in the United States, was tested by UK Anti-Doping. The agency discovered a banned substance in her system known as canrenone.

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After a Football Association hearing, the English FA confirmed that Chioma was taking the medication for a varified medical condition.

However, the FA had to ban her from football for nine months for failing in making an effort in checking “if the medication contained banned substances”

Since the ban was backdated until January 2022, Chioma Ubogagu will resume her professional football career at Tottenham Hotspur from October 2022.

A statement from Tottenham Hotspur read: “Chioma has prescribed two forms of medication in the United States from a personal doctor to treat acne before signing for the club.

“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, to intentionally secure an illegal advantage.”

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