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FIFA initiates doping-related disciplinary cases against three Russian footballers

Among the footballers at the issue is Rostov FC’s striker Vladimir Obukhov

MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. The world’s governing football body, FIFA, has initiated disciplinary cases against three Russian footballers on their suspected violations of anti-doping rules in 2013, the press service of the Russian Football Union (RFU) announced to TASS on Monday.

Russia’s sports web portal reported earlier that among the footballers at the issue is Rostov FC’s striker Vladimir Obukhov. Traces of a banned performance enhancing substance were discovered in his doping sample, which was collected in 2013 during the training camp of the Russian youth team in Novogorsk.

"The Russian Football Union received information from FIFA on the initiation of disciplinary cases, which are connected with suspected anti-doping rules violations in 2013, against two male and one female footballers," the RFU press service said in a statement.

"These cases are not about the players from national teams," the statement reads. "All information was passed on to the players at the issue and the RFU will provide them with the required legal assistance."

The RFU press service also stressed that the Russian governing body of football is in permanent contact with FIFA on this matter.

Commenting on the news, Russian sports lawyer Artyom Patsev told TASS that the investigation into the case can last for more than half a year.

"A provisional term, which we must stick to, was set only on January 1, 2021, and it is six months," Patsev said. "A probe into the case, which as far as I understand took place eight years ago, may take more time."

"The punishment will depend on charges against footballers," he continued. "The maximum penalty? It may be a ban for life, depending on the nature of violations if there were any. The punishment may range from reprimand to lifetime ban."

"There are ten various definitions of violations and each stipulates its own penalty," Patsev noted. "The initiated case is currently about a suspected violation, therefore there are numerous options."

"Considering the majority of violations, the basic sanction at that time was a two-year penalty," the sports lawyer said. "This is an average figure, taking into account that the violation took place for the first time."