Mumbai FC midfielder Dane Pereira has been banned from playing professional football provisionally after failing dope a test, confirmed the club's deputy vice-president Atul Badgamia.
"Yes, Dane has been tested positive. All India Football Federation (AIFF) has asked the player to give his version within seven days. We have been talking to the player and we will take a decision about the further course of action after the AIFF takes a final call on the issue.
Till then, the player is on a provisional ban and cannot play football. It is bad news for us since he was one of our club's important players," Badgamia told mid-day yesterday.
Pereira, a Borivli resident, has been with the club since 2007. The 29-year-old also played in the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) for Chennaiyin FC.
As per Asian Football Confederation (AFC) regulations, National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) is authorised to conduct random dope tests and Pereira's test was conducted at the Cooperage stadium on February 20 during an I-League match that Mumbai FC won 2-1 against Royal Wahingdoh.
"He did not play that particular match and was on the bench. It is surprising that the AIFF's letter doesn't mention what the banned substance was taken by the player," said a Mumbai FC source.
The letter from the football body states that the player cannot play any professional matches till further notice. This is not the first time a Mumbai FC player has failed a dope test.
In 2011 Mumbai FC's Nishant Mehra became the first player in the history of the I-League to fail a dope test and was banned for two years.
Meanwhile, team manager Henry Picardo said he was unable to comment on the issue as he was away with the team in Kolkata for an I-League match against East Bengal on April 18.