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Maradona’s second doping test proves positive

September 3, 1997 GMT

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ A new test on a urine sample from Diego Maradona confirmed the soccer star took drugs before a league game 10 days ago, the Argentine Football Association said Wednesday.

AFA spokesman Albino Bemposta said Maradona had tested positive for a prohibited substance, but added that he was forbidden by law to reveal what the substance was.

Maradona is almost certain to be punished with a lengthy playing ban _ the third of his career. If so, it would appear to signal the end of the 36-year-old forward’s illustrious but controversial career.

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He also faces a trial at a federal court for use of a banned substance.

Maradona, who scored on a penalty kick in the Boca Juniors’ Aug. 24 victory, has twice been banned by FIFA from playing for 15 months, once after testing positive for cocaine following an Italian League game in 1991, and once after testing positive for banned stimulants during the 1994 World Cup.

The second test was requested by Maradona, whose agent claims the former Argentina captain may have been given a drink spiked with drugs prior to the game with Argentinos Juniors.

Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, has admitted to being a cocaine addict. He recently underwent extensive drug rehabilitation.

His latest $50,000-a-match comeback began in July. As part of his contract, Boca officials insisted the club’s doctors give him a drug test before every game. Maradona said a test prior to the Argentinos Juniors game proved negative.

Maradona’s agent, Guillermo Coppola said last Thursday shortly after the first results were announced that Maradona had taken unspecified ``medicines″ to aid his comeback _ his fifth in recent years.

Maradona, who has not appeared in public since the first results were announced, said in a telephone conversation with a local television this week that he ``no longer had the strength to go on.″

``This has been horrible. I give up,″ a weeping, and at times incoherent, Maradona said. ``I had begun to believe again that the surname Maradona could return to where it should be.″

He said he was the victim of a witch-hunt by people who ``want to give me a revolver so that I kill myself.″

His defense lawyers failed Wednesday in an attempt to delay the second test after they hinted that the urine sample may have been tampered with.

After he tested positive for cocaine in 1991 while playing for Napoli, Maradona was arrested in Buenos Aires and charged with cocaine possession and distribution.