Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Arijan Ademi, who played against Arsenal earlier this season in the UEFA Champions League, has been hit with a four-year ban by UEFA after failing a drugs test.
The verdict was confirmed on Friday via the Croatian side’s official Twitter feed. Via the club's official website (h/t Joe Wright of Goal), the 24-year-old expressed his shock at the verdict, which was administered after a hearing in Switzerland:
I find it hard to even describe in words how I feel right now. I'm not guilty, I know I did not do any wrong, and I got such a drastic punishment. I feel terrible.
I would like to thank everyone who has called me in recent days and sent messages, but it's really hard for me to talk about it, and I pray for understanding.
Dinamo also offered support for their man in a statement on their official website, per Wright: “As a club, we are shocked and extremely, unpleasantly surprised by such a turn of events, and we will do everything we can in these difficult times with Arijan.”
As reported by Matt Barlow of the MailOnline, the midfielder failed a drug test back in October in the wake of the Gunners’ 2-1 loss to Dinamo in the Champions League. Barlow notes despite the fact Ademi played the full 90 minutes of that encounter, UEFA have previously confirmed there will be no action against the club in terms of points deductions.
Ademi has represented both Croatia and Macedonia at international level, representing the former three times and the latter, most recently, on four occasions.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has recently called for more stringent drug tests in football, telling L’Equipe (h/t Sky Sports) that football cannot ignore the issue in the wake of the accusations surrounding Russian athletes indulging in “state-sponsored doping,” per BBC Sport.