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Saturday, July 21, 2001
Steaua to field dope case player

BUCHAREST, July 21 (Reuters) - Steaua Bucharest plan to field new signing Adrian Neaga in a Champions League qualifier next week, despite his positive test for the banned anabolic steroid metenolone.

Under Romanian league rules, Neaga, an attacking midfielder signed from Romanian side Arges Pitesti last week, and former teammate Cristian Buturuga should have been banned for a year after both players tested positive for the steroid in May.

But despite pressure from the Romanian Sports Ministry to crack down on doping, the league has not yet suspended the pair, who are the first Romanian footballers to fail a drugs test.

'I think Adrian Neaga can play,' Steaua coach Victor Piturca said on Saturday. 'Steaua did not receive any official notice that the League of Professional Football (LFP) had banned him.'

Steaua, who won the European Cup in 1986, face Macedonian champions Sloga Jugomagnat at home in the first leg of the second preliminary round of the Champions League on Wednesday.

The LFP has appealed to the Romanian Soccer Federation (FRF) not to impose the ban, even though the 'B' samples of both players also revealed traces of the banned substance.

Neaga and Buturuga have protested their innocence, denying that they knowingly took the steroid.

 


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