Hamburg defender Vuskovic banned for two years for doping-German FA

UEFA Under 21 Championship - Group D - Croatia v Switzerland
Soccer Football - UEFA Under 21 Championship - Group D - Croatia v Switzerland - Bonifika Stadium, Koper, Slovenia - March 28, 2021 Croatia's Mario Vuskovic celebrates with teammate after the match REUTERS/Borut Zivulovic

BERLIN, March 30 (Reuters) - Croatia Under-21 international Mario Vuskovic, who plays for German second division club Hamburg SV, has been banned for two years for doping, the German Football Association (DFB) said on Thursday.

The 21-year-old defender, who joined Hamburg in 2021, had tested positive for performance-boosting substance EPO.

"All analysis show a clearly visible find of a substance foreign to the body that is EPO, even if it is in reduced amounts," said Stephan Oberholz, head of the DFB sports court.

He said Vuskovic's A and B samples had been tested repeatedly. The results were also confirmed by other doping experts outside Germany and the player "could not deliver the proof of a wrong doping find."

Vuskovic' first offence and the small amount of EPO meant this was not a case of systematic doping, the DFB said.

Given the player's young age combined with the impact that a long suspension could have on his future career development, the DFB opted for a two-year ban and not a longer one.

Hamburg said they would appeal the decision.

The player, who has made 16 second division appearances this season and scored two goals, had provided a urine sample in September last year and his suspension was backdated to start on Nov. 15, 2022.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann Editing by Toby Davis

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