Tottenham Hotspur Women’s forward Chioma Ubogagu has received a nine-month suspension from The Football Association for an anti-doping violation.
The 29-year-old, who joined Tottenham from Real Madrid in 2021, was twice charged for using canrenone, which is a banned substance.
Canrenone, a diuretic, is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency as it can be used as a masking agent.
The prohibited substance can be used to increase the rate of weight loss and is also provided as an anti-acne medication.
The substance was detected after Ubogagu provided a urine sample to UK Anti-Doping on October 2, 2021.
Ubogagu has said she was prescribed the substance by a dermatologist in Texas as she sought a solution to help with acne.
An independent regulatory commission accepted that the breaches were committed unintentionally but still handed the London-born forward a nine-month ban.
Their report said: “We accept that the Player’s ADRVs were unintentional and we find that she has established that she committed those breaches without significant Fault or Negligence on her part.”
But it added: “(Ubogagu) could and should have established that this drug was on the prohibited list and could, for example, easily have asked the prescribing doctor or the Tottenham medical staff or could have established it herself”.
Ubogagu said of her ban in a statement published on Tottenham’s website: “I am so sorry to my team-mates and staff that I can’t be out on the pitch. The club has been fully supportive throughout this entire process, and I am so appreciative of all their help.
“My faith, family, and close friends have helped me immensely in this difficult time. I am eager to be back soon now that this has been resolved.
“I want to make clear that the medication had no performance-enhancing effects for me, but I still made the mistake of not being as diligent as possible, and as a result I am unable to play the game I love until I serve my suspension.
“While my dermatologist is aware of my profession, it is also my responsibility to know more about the medications I am prescribed.
“I plan to share my story and educate others on the severity of what can happen, and I hope I can help other athletes avoid situations like mine in the future.”
Ubogagu will not be allowed to play for Tottenham Women until October 2022, after the start of the 2022-23 Women’s Super League season.
Ubogagu made 10 league appearances for Spurs in the 2021-22 season, with four of those coming as starts. She is still awaiting her first goal for the club since her move from Madrid.
She has been capped three times by England’s senior team after previously representing the United States until under-23 level.
Ubogagu is the first player in the UK to be sanctioned for an anti-doping rule violation since Sheffield Wednesday winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
During his time at Cardiff City, the winger provided a sample to the FA via UK Anti-Doping on July 4, 2020, which was found to contain metabolites of cocaine. The 30-year-old served a three-month ban.
There are two other players in English professional football currently serving bans for anti-doping violations.
Michael Phenix, last of Southport, was handed a four-year ban in 2018 for the use of anabolic steroids. Similarly, former Peterborough player Josh Yorwerth was handed a four-year ban for failing to attend a drugs sample.
Both players’ suspensions are due to end this year.