Paul Pogba's four-year ban: Should DHEA be banned worldwide?

The substance in question is Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which Pogba was found to have in his system. DHEA is a supplement known to naturally increase testosterone levels.

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Satyam Singh
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Courtesy: X

French football star Paul Pogba has been hit with a four-year ban from the sport due to a failed drug test in August 2023. This suspension casts doubt on the future of the World Cup-winning midfielder's career.

Understanding DHEA: The Substance Behind the Ban

The substance in question is Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which Pogba was found to have in his system. DHEA is a supplement known to naturally increase testosterone levels. However, it is included on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances. Deliberate use of DHEA to enhance performance can result in a maximum ban of four years.

DHEA: Anabolic Steroid and Performance Enhancer

DHEA falls under the category of anabolic androgenic steroids, which are hormones often misused for their muscle-building effects. While banned in sports, DHEA is not prohibited in several countries, including the United States, where it can be found in various supplements.

Past Cases: Precedents for DHEA Bans

This isn't the first time DHEA has led to a ban. UFC fighter Bobby Green received a six-month suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for DHEA in 2022. Green cooperated with authorities, leading to a reduction in his sentence. 

He claimed ignorance of DHEA's status as a banned substance, having been introduced to it via a YouTube video and subsequently taking it after his wife purchased it from a supermarket.