CSKA Sofia’s Georgi Yomov’s doping case is to be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month.
Bulgarian football club, CSKA Sofia, has announced that the doping case of their winger, Georgi Yomov, is scheduled to be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) next month. The Cas hearing comes after Yomov was tested positive for the prohibited substance ‘methandienone’ during a Portuguese Cup match in December 2019. The 28-year-old Bulgarian was handed a four-year ban from football-related activities by the Bulgarian Football Union in March 2020, which he has appealed. As a result of the appeal, Yomov’s suspension was reportedly put on hold, allowing him to play an essential role in CSKA Sofia’s Bulgarian cup trophy win over Levski Sofia in July 2020. However, The Cas hearing will nonetheless provide a final verdict in the winger’s doping case.
This is the second doping case involving a Bulgarian footballer in recent years.
Yomov’s situation is not the first doping case involving a Bulgarian footballer. Previously, in 2019, the Bulgarian all-time leading goal scorer, Dimitar Berbatov, defended and gave advice to his former teammate, Ivan Kolev, after the latter faced a similar situation. Following a doping test report which declared the presence of the banned stimulant substance “phenylpropanolamine”, Kolev was handed a one-year ban. Berbatov, known for his goalscoring prowess, expressed that the ban could end Kolev’s career, and it was essential to fight and defend the player’s rights.
The Bulgarian Football Union’s transparency in doping cases has had significant setbacks in recent years. Apart from Georgi Yomov and Ivan Kolev’s cases, other Bulgarian athletes have also been suspended or put under probation for using banned substances, including boxers, weightlifters, and wrestlers. In November 2019, the Bulgarian Football Union president, Borislav Mihaylov, resigned from his position following the racism scandal the Bulgarian national team faced with the hooligans’ Nazi salutes, which led to the game stoppage. After Mihaylov’s resignation, the union has implemented different procedures and policies in hopes of overturning the problems the union has faced. However, the doping cases’ recurrence suggests that there is still work to be done to rebuild the Bulgarian Football Union’s image.
Georgi Yomov’s hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport highlights the reoccurring doping problem in Bulgarian football. The hearing’s decision could cause a setback on the already troubled Bulgarian Football Union and cast more shadows on the country’s football image. Though the Union has taken steps to counter the doping issues seen in recent years, the recurrence of these cases implies that more work needs to be done to safeguard the athletes’ welfare and league’s integrity.