As reported by ESPN and others, Saudi Arabia and Al-Shabab forward Fahad Al-Muwallad has been withdrawn from his nation’s World Cup squad with just a week to go before the start of the tournament in Qatar due to a doping offence.
The 28-year-old player was given an 18-month ban last May by the Saudi Anti-Doping Committee, having tested positive for Furosemide, a banned substance. However, the length of Al-Muwallad’s ban was reduced in August by the Committee only for WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) to appeal against that decision, with the player likely to now see his ban extended further. As recently as 2019 Al-Muwallad was banned for a year due to another doping charge.
The call to remove the player was made by Saudi Arabia and former Zambia, Ivory Coast and Cambridge United coach, Herve Renard as a precaution with WADA’s appeal ongoing after consulting the team’s legal advisers. The 32-year-old striker Nawaf Al-Abed, also of Al-Shabab, has replaced Al-Muwallad in the Saudi squad for the tournament.