Ajax stars wear Andre Onana shirts in support of banned keeper amid calls for one-year suspension to be scrapped
AJAX stars supported their suspended team-mate Andre Onana by wearing his goalkeeper shirt.
The Dutch side’s No1 was slapped with a one-year ban by Uefa for failing an out-of-competition doping test.Andre Onana was backed by his Ajax team-mates who donned his shirt in support[/caption]
The shot-stopper mistakenly took his wife’s pills when feeling unwell, believing them to be a ‘simple aspirin’.
Ajax wore long-sleeved ‘Onana 24’ shirts back to front for the warm-up before their game against PSV on Wednesday.
Banned substance Furosemide was found in the former Chelsea target’s urine in October.
The 24-year-old was pictured smiling in the stands as his team-mates paid tribute before the 2-1 win in the KNVB Cup quarter-final.
Former Fulham and Everton keeper Maarten Steklenburg was between the sticks in Onana’s absence.
After the match, manager Erik ten Hag was asked whether his team was right to show such public support for someone who had fallen foul of doping regulations.
On ESPN, he said: “It’s awful what he has to go through. We feel sorry for him, and we sympathise with him, and we want to give him support.
“Even if he makes a mistake you can still support him. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. We love him and he’s still part of the dressing room.
“There must be extra motivation to bring in trophies because he has a big share in taking us this far.”
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HEREAjax stars ran out onto the field wearing Onana fluorescent keeper tops[/caption]
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New signing Sebastian Haller – who will sit out of the Europa League after the club’s computer blunder left the former West Ham man out of the squad – backed his new colleague.
Haller – who bagged a double to secure the win – said: “It is something really really difficult to accept as a football player, when people stop you playing football for one year.
“It is difficult for him, his family, for everyone around the club – so of course we will support him during this thing – and hopefully they will [reduce] the sanction.”
Onana has pledged to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after blaming ‘human error’ and blasting his 12-month suspension as ‘excessive and disproportionate’.
The Dutch players’ union VVCS also released a strongly-worded statement which condemned the ruling that means Onana will not even be allowed to train with the Amsterdam club during his ban.Players took a stance in support of their banned team-mate[/caption] Ajax players greet each other in the special shirts[/caption]
It read: “VVCS does not agree with the one-year sanction imposed on André Onana. VVCS continues to condemn a system whereby athletes who have no intention of cheating are banned from practicing their profession for extended periods of time.
“This sanction has a huge impact on the player’s professional career and has a huge impact on the well-being of the player involved.
“Uefa accepts Onana’s defence that it is a mistake. That he took the wrong pill on October 30 to temper a headache. For that reason, he will not receive the ‘usual’ four years, but his sentence will be ‘limited’ to one year.
“However, one year is an eternity in the career of a professional football player… A career that is short anyway. The question is how can you just suspend a player for a year, if you are convinced yourself that there is a mistake?
“The suspension in itself is disproportionate, but the idea that the player may not even train with the rest of the team during the suspension is completely incomprehensible.
“This injustice, which has no added value and leads to the unnecessary isolation of professional footballers, must also be urgently reversed.
“VVCS is hopeful that the punishment of André Onana will be cancelled (or greatly reduced) by the CAS, but this case once again shows the need to restructure the rules.
“The international players’ organisation FIFPRO has announced that it will re-address its approach to anti-doping regulations with the explicit demand that workers’ and employers’ organisations have significantly more influence in drafting the doping rules and their consequences.”
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