CSKA Moscow avoid European ban

CSKA Moscow will not be disqualified from this season's Champions League despite two of their players failing drugs tests.

UEFA announced last night that Russian defenders Alexei Berezutsky and Sergei Ignashevich have been provisionally suspended from all games after testing positive for a banned stimulant.

However, the substance in question is on a list of "non-specified" stimulants, meaning therefore that potential disqualification penalties will not be invoked.

Any punishments, if deemed necessary, are therefore likely to be in the form of sanctions against the players.

A disciplinary hearing will take place on December 17 to review the matter.

CSKA Moscow qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League last night after finishing second to Manchester United in Group B.

The random drugs tests on Berezutsky and Ignashevich were carried out after CSKA's 3-3 draw with United at Old Trafford on November 3.

Reports the Russians could be expelled from the competition grew last night after reading of UEFA's disciplinary regulations.

Part of Article 12 states: "If more than two players from the same team are found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation in relation to a prohibited (non-specified) substance or method, the team in question may be disqualified from the competition in progress and/or future competitions."

But a spokesman for the European governing body today told Press Association Sport: "In this case it is a specified substance so disqualification of the team does not apply, it is more the sanction of the players themselves."

CSKA Moscow last night defended their players and put the positive tests down to a "clerical error".

The club claimed both players were given Sudafed while battling colds on international duty and CSKA medical staff then failed to include the medication on a list handed to UEFA following the United clash.

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