ZURICH (AP) — FIFA suspended Joel Sanchez for two years on Friday after the Peru midfielder tested positive for a banned substance at a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
The 23-year-old Sanchez is banned from "all matches, whether friendly or official fixtures, at domestic and international level" through to January 21, 2015, FIFA said in a statement. Sanchez tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine after a 1-1 draw at Bolivia in La Paz last October.
Peru is eighth in the nine-team South American qualifying group and has only an outside chance of claiming one of four automatic qualification places for the World Cup in Brazil. Sanchez can appeal the ruling imposed Friday by FIFA's disciplinary panel.
The sanction is one of the toughest handed down in recent years by FIFA. In 2008, Italian player Eduardo Morgado got a two-year ban for using nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, at the Futsal World Cup. In cases involving methylhexaneamine, UEFA issued one-year bans last August to two players from Macedonian club Rabotnicki who tested positive after a Europa League match against Lazio.
The World Anti-Doping Agency classes methylhexaneamine as a "specified" substance, meaning it might have been consumed without intent to dope. Athletes can receive a reduced sanction if they can prove how a substance was ingested.
FIFA provisionally suspended Sanchez in January pending a full hearing. Sanchez plays for Lima-based club Universidad San Martin.