CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Anti-doping officials said Friday they would consider appealing a four-month suspension for South Africa midfielder Josta Dladla on the basis it is too lenient after he tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.
The decision by a tribunal means Dladla is already clear to play again because he was suspended when he was charged on Jan. 9 and the tribunal viewed that as "time served."
Anti-doping authority The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport announced the ban and said it would review the ruling of the tribunal, which took into account Dladla pleading guilty, before deciding on any appeal.
"We have to stress that Josta Dladla has not been acquitted of any charges," SAIDS chief executive Khalid Galant said in a statement. "After we receive the written decision from the tribunal we will be in a better position to understand the rationale behind their thinking on why the sanction for a doping offense for methylhexaneamine is four months."
Although a two-year ban is common for a first-time offense for methylhexaneamine, Galant told The Associated Press that there could be other mitigating factors in Dladla's case. He said the tribunal ruling would be reviewed in detail next week.
The 34-year-old Dladla plays for one of South Africa's top teams, Kaizer Chiefs, and has made six appearances for the national team, the last in 2006. He tested positive after a top-flight Premier Soccer League game on Oct. 26.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has warned of the growing threat of methylhexaneamine amid a rise in recent cases. Jamaican sprinter Dominique Blake was banned for six years, reduced to 4½ years this month on appeal, after testing positive for methylhexaneamine, although it was her second offense.
SAIDS said Dladla's was the only failed doping test out of 184 conducted in South Africa's domestic football league last year.