February 21, 2024

Pogba case, plea bargain idea: the counter-analyses and the agreement

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The Juventus midfielder will ask for a counter-analysis by this evening, then the investigation and interrogation into the doping surcharge will begin. The idea is an agreement to reduce the lock-in period to 12 months

Paul Pogba has until midnight today to request a counter-analysis of the B sample of his urine, in which traces of testosterone were found during the first test by the anti-doping laboratory in Rome. No one can imagine sensational reversals of the first “non-negativity” verdict; Case studies show us that it is a possibility that borders on the impossible. Juventus’ French number 10 and his entourage could decide to retire. Without exaggerating its significance, Paul’s gesture would also be a sign of consideration for the system and its functioning.

According to the result of the counter-analysis, the judicial-sporting front will be opened. What will Pogba do? A telegraphic admission of guilt, seasoned with the crucial underlining of “inadvertence”? Will he offer a deal? Or will he opt for the legal dispute in Italy and at Tas? The player will soon be questioned and then his defensive line will be better understood. The risks are well known: a violation means a 4-year prison sentence. If you can prove that the ingestion was not intentional, you can start with 2. And let’s be honest: the punishments for footballers, even when it comes to doping, haven’t been particularly harsh over the years. There is always a mitigating factor. But going all the way, relying only on precedents, would expose the French to various risks. Testosterone is not the metabolite Clostebol, for which the healing ointment has been used several times. If the first internal commitments (the comparison with Juventus) are confirmed, the thesis of a contaminated addendum would also fall. For this reason, the defense could try a negotiated route.

So let’s try to decipher the possible scenarios. The prosecution’s investigation highlights doping and Pogba faces a referral telling him: “You have willfully breached the code, for this, this and that, we want to disqualify you for four years.” At this point the could World champions resort to the rule of “timely admission” and “acceptance of the sanction”. All he would have to do is say “Yes, I did it” and there would be a year’s reduction. But that would result in a triple disqualification. Because the regulation only applies to a sanction application from 4 years old. For Pogba, 30.5 years old, a three-year break would likely be fatal for the rest of his career.

Please negotiate

Another thing is the “agreement to settle the case”, actually a settlement. In this case, the initiative must always come from the athlete; the path would be different, as a simple recording would not be enough. “This application must expressly, accurately and truthfully set out the facts underlying the violation – this is what the Sports Anti-Doping Regulation says and is not limited to a mere admission of guilt.” At this point the ball would be in the national court Anti-doping prosecutor’s office and Wada passed on. But at what threshold would the “negotiation” begin in this case? The penalty reduction could not be more than 50 percent of the disqualification proposal formulated by the anti-doping public prosecutor. But from two years onwards, the halving would result in a disqualification of just one year. The problem is that Pogba has to convince anti-doping prosecutor Pierfilippo Laviani of the “inadvertence”. And it’s not an obvious move.

The Tas

In the event of a legal dispute, the game would be played on different fields. That of the Italian sports justice system, the National Anti-Doping Tribunal or the international sphere. That is, the Tas (Tribunal of Arbitration for Sport) during the appeal. If Nado Italia and Wada agreed to the Tas, Pogba could theoretically go there immediately in a single hearing provided for in the procedures. But regardless of where the game is played, the way it is played remains. I mean, what will Pogba’s defense look like?

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