Tottenham forward receives nine-month ban for acne medication

(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur forward Chioma Ubogagu has been suspended for nine months due to a doping violation caused by her acne medication.

The 29-year-old former Houston Dash, Orlando Pride and Real Madrid forward tested positive for spironolactone, a banned diuretic, last October. She admitted to taking the drug as part of a prescription, but she had not known it was a banned substance.

The medication was prescribed to Ubogagu while she played in the United States, where the substance is not banned. While she applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption after realizing the medication was banned, the TUE was rejected because she did not apply before beginning the medication.

She was provisionally suspended by the English Football Association on Jan. 18.

“I am so sorry to my teammates and staff that I can’t be out on the pitch. The Club has been fully supportive throughout this entire process, and I am so appreciative of all their help,” Ubogagu said in a statement.

“I want to make clear that the medication had no performance-enhancing effects for me, but I still made the mistake of not being as diligent as possible, and as a result I am unable to play the game I love until I serve my suspension,” Ubogagu continued. “While my dermatologist is aware of my profession, it is also my responsibility to know more about the medications I am prescribed.”

Ubogagu joined Tottenham last year from Real Madrid. She previously spent time in the NWSL with both the Dash and the Pride. She also has played for the English national team, and before that she won the 2012 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup with the USWNT U20 team. She also played for the United States’ U23 and U18 teams.

Her suspension will run through October. In a statement, UK Anti-Doping said the FA’s regulatory commission recognized that the consumption of the substance was not deliberate but that “it also recognized that she took no steps to check if the medication contained banned substances.”

“My advice to all athletes out there is to check everything. Whether it’s skin treatment or cough medicine or whatever. YOU are responsible for what goes into YOUR body,” Ubogagu wrote in an essay for The Players’ Tribune. “You might know in your heart that you’re not a cheat, but you may still end up with a ban the same as someone who is. The system is just that severe, so you need to be extra careful.”