Edwin van der Sar has launched a staunch defence of Andre Onana after the Ajax goalkeeper was hit with a one-year doping ban.
Former Manchester United stopper Van der Sar, who is now the chief executive of the Dutch club, says they will appeal the decision of the Court of Arbitration (CAS) in handing the 24-year-old a one-year ban following a positive doping test.
UEFA detected Furosemide, a banned substance, in the Cameroonian’s urine during an out of competition check at the club’s De Toekomst training base, in what came as a ‘huge shock’ for the club.
Edwin van der Sar has launched a staunch defence of Andre Onana following his doping ban
The Ajax goalkeeper has been banned for 12 months following a failed drugs test last year
However, Van der Sar and Onana insist that the Furosemide belonged to the latter’s wife and he took it by mistake.
‘A few days after the UEFA message, he came directly to De Toekomst from Schiphol and we went to his bathroom with the doctor, where we took all the medication and whatever looked like it for examination,’ Van der Sar said via de Telegraaf.
‘Andre was not feeling well on the day of the check-up and thought he had taken a headache tablet, but it turned out that he had taken a pill from a strip of his wife’s medicine, which she had been prescribed after the pregnancy of their first child.
The Cameroonian stopper claims that he used his wife’s medicine, Furosemide, by mistake
‘It looked quite similar in name and strip. And the strips were loose in his locker. It’s dumb luck, yes.’
Athletes do not directly benefit from Furosemide, which could work in favour of Onana and Ajax, although it is known as a ‘masking agent’ used to rid the body of evidence of doping.
‘We have submitted our defence and the person responsible at UEFA has checked the reading of Andre and Ajax with experts,’ Van der Sar added.
‘The experts say that we can go to CAS with hope. It is important that there is a quick verdict. There are cases of athletes who have been suspended for four years, but I also know the example of a cyclist who was caught using the same product and only had a two-month suspension.’
Ajax chief Van der Sar says the club will appeal CAS’ verdict against their 24-year-old stopper
Onana, an immensely popular figure among the Dutch giants’ fanbase and dressing room, would prove a significant loss to the club should the suspension stand.
The 24-year-old’s contract expires in the summer of 2022 and had attracted interest from Chelsea last summer before the Blues signed Edouard Mendy from Rennes.
‘In the coming week we will discuss the whole situation, because Onana obviously represents value in the business. He was on the list of many top clubs,” the Ajax chief said.
It has been a testing few months for the club, with an arbitration case set to get under way over their treatment of Abdelhak Nouri. Ajax also attempted to sell Quincy Promes to Spartak Moscow amid his suspected involvement in a stabbing, while the Dutch club blundered Sebastien Haller’s registration in the Europa League squad.