Saudi Arabia winger Fahad al-Mowallad was withdrawn from their World Cup squad on Sunday as a 'precaution' due to an ongoing doping case. The Al-Shadab forward was handed an 18-month ban last May by the Saudi Arabian Anti-Doping Committee after he tested positive for the banned substance Furosemide.
Although Saudi Sports Arbitration Centre reduced Fahad's ban in late August and decided that the period during which he was suspended was sufficient, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration of Sport seeking a longer period of ineligibility.
Herv Renard, Saudi Arabia's head coach confirmed on Sunday via Twitter that the team management has decided to oust al-Mowallad from his 26-man squad for the tournament in Qatar as a precaution.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian Anti-Doping Committee said in May that it has suspended the player for 18 months over his positive test in February for the doping substance furosemide. Al-Mowallad’s removal from the World Cup came just nine days ahead of the side’s opening fixture against mighty Argentina.
Saudi Arabia’s second game will be against Poland on November 26 and Mexico on November 30. The team has declared Nawaf Al-Abed as a replacement for al-Mowallad.
Speaking of Al-Mowallad, the 28-year-old joined Al-Shabab this season after more than a decade at Al-Ittihad, which included a brief spell at Levante (on loan) in Spain ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Al-Mowallad was part of all three games at the last World Cup where Saudi Arabia finished third in their group, eventually losing to Russia and Uruguay before beating Egypt. Saudi Arabia are in Group C alongside Argentina, Mexico and Poland at the finals which will start on November 2.