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Pirates held by basement boys Platinum Stars

Football
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By ESPN Staff

Giovanella's two-year ban suspended

MADRID, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Celta Vigo midfielder Everton Giovanella is free to play in the Primera Liga this weekend after his two-year ban for a positive drug test was suspended following an appeal by his club.

The Spanish Football Federation's Competitions Committee approved a two-year ban on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old Brazilian tested positive for a metabolite of the banned steroid nandrolone in December 2004 in a random test after a second division match against Pontevedra.

He has denied that he knowingly took any drug and has said that if necessary he would go to court to prove his innocence.

Giovanella recorded a level of 3.7 nanograms per litre of 19-norandrosterone. The permitted limit is two nanograms.

Athletic Bilbao midfielder Carlos Gurpegi tested positive for 19-norandrosterone at the start of the 2002-2003 season but has not yet received a definitive sanction after taking the case to court.

The 25-year-old, who is a fixture in the Bilbao first team, and his club say they have proof he produces the substance naturally as a consequence of physical exercise.