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Football: Portugal's Xavier Suspended for 18 Months on Doping Charge


Abel Xavier of Portugal has been suspended for 18 months by European football's governing body after he tested positive for steroid use.

Xavier, of the English football club Middlesbrough, tested positive for Dianabol (methandienone) following the team's UEFA Cup match against Greek football club Xanthi on September 29. The 32-year-old defender is the first player in England's Premier League found guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

The 18-month penalty falls short of the standard two-year steroid ban mandated by the World Anti-Doping Agency. UEFA said Xavier can appeal within three days of receiving written notification and his lawyers have indicated he intends to do so.

Xavier has denied knowingly taking banned substances, and says there is a "reasonable and entirely harmless explanation" for his positive test.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP.

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