Arsenal target Andre Onana has seen his ban from playing football reduced from 12 months to nine months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Onana has been out of action since February, when he was banned for taking a prohibited substance. He claimed he did so unknowingly as it was in his wife’s medicine, which he took mistakenly. But UEFA suspended him for a year, putting the Ajax goalkeeper’s career on hold.
He has since been waiting to hear the outcome of his appeal, which has now become clear. His ban has been reduced by three months, meaning he will be allowed to play again from November 4th. What’s more, he can resume training from two months before that date.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said: “The CAS panel… found that no ‘significant fault’ could be attributed to Andre Onana, who had ingested medication destined for another person in error.
“On that basis, the panel considered that a nine-month ban was proportionate to the negligence committed and reduced the suspension by three months, but could not accept the goalkeeper’s request for the removal of the suspension entirely.”
Onana will thus miss the start of the season for Ajax but can represent Cameroon at the African Cup of Nations in January.
The news will be of interest to Arsenal, who have reportedly outlined Onana as a goalkeeper target. In fact, according to The Times, they have already made an offer.
There is a chance that Onana has already played his last game for Ajax, as his contract expires in 2022. Therefore, Ajax may look to sell him this summer and Arsenal will hope to benefit.
Van der Sar reacts to news
But the Dutch club’s managing director Edwin van der Sar suggested Onana still had a future when reacting to the news via their website.
He said: “With this ruling from the CAS, we have an extra three months [with Onana available] compared to the original suspension.
“So the step to the CAS was not in vain. We stand for a clean sport. But I repeat that we are convinced that Andre took this drug accidentally and certainly not to perform better.
“Last week when we told Andre and the lawyers our story at CAS, I drove away with a good feeling. I have mixed feelings about today’s statement, because our goal was for him to be back on track from this summer.”