Onana can’t be with Ajax during 12-month ban, even missing their title party. It’s not only unjust, but cruel

2:06 pm ET

  • Sid LoweSpain writer

Andre Onana was handed a 12 month doping violation ban. Photo by Laurens Lindhout / Soccrates / Getty Images

Ajax celebrated become Dutch champions last weekendbut when the songs were sung and the party started, someone was missing. goalkeeper Andre Onanawho played every minute of every game through January 31st that still played more minutes than all four footballers in the Ajax squad, whose title was very close to his heart, was not there. He wanted to be, but he wasn’t sure he was allowed to, so he stayed isolated and alone, as he has been for three months. And those months that are yet to come.

– – Ajax celebrate Eredivisie title
– – Neres leads Ajax to the 20th Dutch Cup
– – Onana banned for 12 months after doping violation

Onana, who turned 25 in early April, is slated to leave at the end of the season, Ajax said. And with clubs in Germany and England interested the Amsterdam outfit would like to continue. But that’s not why he was absent from his team’s title celebrations. This is because he woke up one morning last October with a headache and reached for an aspirin that turned out not to be aspirin at all, but the furosemide that had been prescribed for his pregnant wife. The packages aren’t that different – nor are the pills – and so, says Onana, he accidentally took the wrong thing.

That is his version of events, and it is a version that UEFA accepts. They concluded that Onana hadn’t tried to cheat; They also concluded that they had to ban him anyway. They insist that it is a player’s duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters their body. Furosemide is a diuretic and not a performance-enhancing drug. However, it can be used as a masking agent and is on UEFA’s list of prohibited substances. He was passed through a 12 month ban. Had they judged that he was deliberately cheating, it could have been four years.

Onana said he “respected” the UEFA Appellate Body but disagreed with their decision, which he described at the time as “excessive and disproportionate as UEFA recognized it was an unintended error”. Twelve months is one fifth of his professional career to date. Ajax managing director Edwin van der Sar published a statement in which he described it as “a terrible setback for Andre himself and for us as a club”.

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This is the second time Onana has had a long period of non-play: through the Samuel Eto’o Foundation in Cameroonhe was at Barcelona as a child if The club was fined for violating Article 19 of FIFALike all children at La Masia, Onana has not played a competitive game for 18 months.

At least he could train afterwards; At least they were all there together, although that effectively led to the breakup of a generation when the players left the club. This time Onana is on her own. UEFA bans don’t just prevent players from playing. They prevent them from participating in all football-related activities. He’s not allowed in Ajax; not their training grounds, not their team facilities. It doesn’t even matter whether the team is there or not. And this is possibly the most important element of all that effectively carries over the ban to more than 12 months and its impact, which is “enormous” not only on a player’s career, in the words of Vereniging Van Contractspelers (from “extended” and deepened) VVCS), the Dutch players’ union, but also the good of a player.

“The suspension itself is disproportionate, but the idea that the player may not even train with the rest of the team during the suspension is completely incomprehensible,” said the VVCS. “This injustice, which has no added value and leads to the unnecessary isolation of professional footballers, also urgently needs to be reversed.”

Dan Thomas is joined by Craig Burley, Shaka Hislop, and others to bring you the latest highlights and discuss the biggest storylines. Stream on ESPN + (US only).

It’s hard not to agree. It’s hard to see any real justification for implementing a rule beyond actually playing the game – one argument goes that a player who isn’t a regular starter can otherwise effectively get along without punishment – and it’s hard to do understand why it is so rarely questioned. Maybe that will help. It’s a perverse and almost cruel punishment. It’s also largely pointless; It’s also hard to see what gives authorities the power to impose restrictions beyond gaming.

This is not just about doping offenses. It’s all about all kinds of bans, which often feel like players are being bound by standards. The rest of the game doesn’t seem to feel the need to fulfill these.

When Luis Suarez After the 2014 World Cup, the Uruguayan striker was suspended for biting the Italian Giorgio Chiellini. He was not allowed to engage in any “football-related” activities. The ban didn’t extend to a € 80million transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona – business is business, after all – but it did mean he couldn’t be introduced, he couldn’t train with his teammates and he couldn’t go to the stadium, to see them play In theory, he couldn’t watch a child’s play either. Think about it for a minute: Imagine you have a young son or daughter and you play on Saturday, only your father is not allowed to watch.

Suarez worked alone and in hiding. A secrecy surrounded his location. When Kieran Trippier was prohibited for violating the gambling regulationsNot only was he banned for 10 weeks, but he was also unable to train with his teammates.

In theory, at least, it was. When FIFA has temporarily suspended the sanction – He returned to the face Sevilla FC – then confirmed again, Atletico Madrid interpreted her judgment to mean that Trippier could work again, if not play, against the will of the FA. They knew it wasn’t clear and that they were pushing, so he quietly joined the group. There were no photos, no reports, and not a word from the training site until the ban actually ended. At that point, the club admitted he was here the whole time.

Onana’s teammates showed their support after news of his ban was announced in February, and the club supports him too. But it is a difficult situation for everyone and it is unclear whether the CAS appeal will reduce its ban. ANP Sports via Getty Images

Most don’t take this risk, including Onana and Ajax. No matter how unfairly they view the ban, power is out of their hands. Let’s assume for a moment that Onana is guilty of knowingly taking furosemide. In fact, let’s say he did this to mask something else. If we suppose all of this – none of those whom even those who punished him believe – let us assume that he is wholly guilty. The question remains: why does the ban extend beyond the field of play? What is really gained?

Dan Thomas is joined by Craig Burley, Shaka Hislop, and others to bring you the latest highlights and discuss the biggest storylines. Stream on ESPN + (US only).

A 12 month ban on football-related activities is effectively longer than that when it comes to gaming. It could rightly be argued that those who break the rules should not be supported and cared for, but at a time when the players’ spiritual wellbeing is being felt more strongly than ever, the answer is really to get them on purpose isolate?

Ajax’s players wore Onana’s jerseys as they ran onto the pitch to face up PSV Eindhoven in the cup after the ban was confirmed in early February. The club has talked about supporting him – Lassina Traore also wore Onana’s jersey during last weekend’s title celebration – but it’s natural that a distance has opened, that relationships change, that a player ends up alone when forced is to stay away.

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Ajax beat FC Emmen 4-0 to secure their 35th Dutch Eredivisie title.

An appeal is also waiting – Onana takes his case to the Sports Arbitration Tribunal (CAS). This is one of the reasons why it is so determined to strictly adhere to the ban and do so, explaining why something that should be natural is kept secret: a footballer who plays football, a person who is part of a group to which he has contributed. Onana is not sure whether he will be able to attend the celebrations. however, he fears it could be held against him.

(This CAS objection can also affect its future: if the ban is scaled back and it should be available again for Ajax, it is more likely that it will stay.

Meanwhile, like all players in situations like this, Onana makes her own plans, away from the team’s routine – what most footballers say makes it all worthwhile. He trains with a goalkeeping coach recommended by his agent. He could work at the club’s headquarters, but not with his teammates and not when someone is still there. Instead, he makes his way to a small amateur club in Amsterdam that is not seen by anyone or anyone who does not want to admit where they are and the club is silent. He is also silent. His diet has been changed and the fitness work is done in a home gym with his own personal trainer, a lifelong friend he has previously worked with – although this is coordinated with the Ajax staff.

And so it goes, a certain absurdity for everything, as if this were a state secret, as if Onana was a “non-person”. He works in isolation, waits and watches on TV as his teammates celebrate the title he won.

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