Subrata Paul: Why would I dope? I am not a struggler
News emerges of celebrated footballer failing dope test ahead of AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifying group game against Myanmar
Arjuna Awardee and one of India's most celebrated footballers, Subrata Paul, failed a dope test conducted by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) before the Indian team's departure to Cambodia on March 18 for a friendly match. The test was carried out in Mumbai where the national team was training ahead of their Cambodia game under Stephen Constantine.
Speaking about the development, the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) secretary Kushal Das said, "Yes, we have been informed that he has tested positive. I haven't seen the entire report from NADA. His I-League club DSK Shivajians has also been informed about it. It's a huge shock for the AIFF when such matters crop up. It's up to him now if he wants to appeal against the decision. He can seek a B sample test. Let's hope for the best. There is still some scope for appeal."
Officially, Paul has to report to the governing body's office and opt to have his B sample tested within two weeks of publishing of the original report by NADA.
This development has left Paul in disbelief. "I am very surprised. There is definitely a mistake," said Paul when mid-day called him this morning for his reaction.
"Everybody, right from my teammates and coach, know how hardworking and dedicated to the game I am. I was taken by surprise when I got the news this morning. Why would I dope? I am not a struggling player at all. I don't even take supplements. In my entire career, I have always given my best and have never done any such thing," said Paul.
So, what is Paul's next step? "I have to get a confirmation from the federation; I have not heard from them yet. I will have a meeting with them and will then speak to my coach and ask for his advice. I will have to consult my teammates as well," he said.
When asked if he has been a victim of sabotage or animosity, Paul said, "I share a very good equation with everybody. I don't think anyone has done this purposely."