At the start of the week, Ajax confirmed that record signing Sebastien Haller had been accidentally left out of the Europa League squad due to an admin error. Now, at the end of the week, the Dutch side have confirmed the news that UEFA has imposed a 12-month ban of goalkeeper Andre Onana for a doping violation.
In football, weeks don’t get much worse than that. Within the space of 12 days, Ajax have seen their star signing, Haller, excluded from the crucial Europa League campaign, and Andre Onana banned for a doping violation; two exclusions that could derail the Ajax season.
Onana Banned, Haller Excluded: The Tale of a Disastrous Week for Ajax
Ajax to Appeal Onana Decision
Ajax confirmed in a statement that they will be appealing the 12-month ban. Managing Director Edwin van der Sar said: “We explicitly renounce performance-enhancing drugs, we obviously stand for a clean sport. This is a terrible setback, for both Andre himself but certainly also for us as a club.
“Andre is a top goalkeeper, who has proven his worth his worth for Ajax for years and is very popular with the fans. We had hoped for a conditional suspension or for a suspension much shorter than these twelve months because it was arguably not intended to strengthen his body and thus improve his performance.”
How it Happened
Ajax also revealed in a statement just how Onana seemingly consumed the banned substance, revealing that he woke on the morning of October 30 feeling unwell before taking a pill to ease the discomfort. The goalkeeper was unaware that he was, indeed, taking Lasimac- a drug his wife had been prescribed.
UEFA agreed that Onana had no intention of cheating, but stated that they believe all athletes have a responsibility to ensure no banned substances enter their bodies.
All in all, it seems a messy story and one that could have so easily been avoided. If the story is, indeed, true, then Onana’s year ban certainly seems a harsh one when considering he had no intention to cheat- a statement UEFA also agreed with.
Either way, the ban is now in place until the decision of the appeal is made. As things stand, the goalkeeper will miss crucial games in both the Eredivisie and the Europa League against the inform Lille side.
With the ban in place, the Dutchman will be forced to welcome the experience of Maartin Stekelenburg into the side, who turns 39 this year. The drop off in quality could have severe consequences for an Ajax side looking to go far in the Europa League.
Haller and Onana Situations Should Have Been Avoided
After completing a club-record deal for Sebastien Haller from West Ham United, Ajax would have hoped for the striker to have a season-defining impact- especially in the Europa League. One admin error later, however, and the striker’s chances of making an impact in Europe has been taken away.
No matter how the situation happened, UEFA have confirmed that Haller will definitely not be available for the Europa League. The news sums up a week to forget for Ajax, who will be without both Onana and their record signing who they completely forgot about when putting the European squad together.
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