Delhi Dynamos defender Rana Gharami has been handed a provisional suspension by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) after he tested positive for a banned substance in a first such case involving an Indian Super League (ISL) footballer.
The 28-year-old Gharami returned positive for prednisone and prednisolone metabolities - both banned by NADA under glucocorticoids - in an in-competition test conducted during an ISL match in New Delhi on January 31. The defender from West Bengal, who played for Mohun Bagan in 2017-18 before joining Delhi Dynamos in the 2018-19 season, did not have a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), according to sources.
"(Gharami) has tested positive for a banned substance and his (provisional) suspension has begun from the time he got the letter (from NADA)," a club source told PTI on Friday on the condition of anonymity. "He has been asked to explain how and why the banned drug went into his system and he is expected to do that."
Prednisone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, breathing problems, severe allergies, skin diseases, cancer, eye problems, and immune system disorders. Gharami can either get his 'B' sample tested or accept the charge. If his 'B' sample also tests positive or he accepts the charge, he will have to face a hearing panel of the NADA, which will decide the quantum of punishment.
"Delhi Dynamos Football Club has taken notice of the report by NADA on Mr Rana Gharami who plays as a defender for the ISL club," the club said in a statement. "The club would like to clarify that it is assisting Rana with the case but that does not mean that it was the club that handed out any banned substance to the defender. The club has a very serious no doping policy and will not entertain any of its players or staff to indulge in the same.
"The club's medical team is working diligently with the player and his team in finding out the nature of the substance and why if at all it was consumed."
Gharami now stares at a possible ban of four years at the maximum as this will be his first offence.