Austrian Bundesliga giants Red Bull Salzburg have revealed that Mali internationals Mohamed Camara and Sekou Koita have returned positive for banned substances.
Having featured for the Eagles in November’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Namibia – which Mohamed Magassouba’s men won over two legs – the players were subjected to tests on their return to Austria.
However, they tested positive for a substance used for treating altitude sickness which the players claim was ordered by the medical staff of the Mali national team.
“Mohamed Camara and Sekou Koita had been away for around 10 days on international duty for Mali for two internationals against Namibia, before they recorded a positive test on 22 November 2020 – a few days after their return to Salzburg – as part of a Uefa test of 10 of our players,” a statement from the club website read.
“Camara and Koita both had traces of a substance that is a key ingredient in a drug taken to combat altitude sickness.
“They both state this was administered to them by the medical staff of the Mali national team before their away match in Namibia.
“The Mali national side flew for the Africa Nations Cup qualifier from Bamako in Mali (350 metres altitude) to Windhoek at 1700 metres altitude.”
In the wake of this development, Uefa, the body representing national football associations in Europe is expected to start an investigation.
Even after this, the Red Bull Arena giants have disclosed that both players will be allowed to train with the squad in the spring and will be given the full support to get their case resolved.
In addition, RB Salzburg reveal they will do everything in cooperation with Uefa and relevant authorities to "obtain a full explanation of events in Mali".
Although the club is "very proud when our players are called up to their national teams," Salzburg's general manager, Stephan Reiter, assured "that medical work will conform to international standards, with doctors who are familiar with the rules."
"If Uefa takes additional measures, the association and the club will be informed," said Thomas Hollerer who is the general secretary of the Austrian Football Association.
Both players, who featured for the West African team during the 2019 Africa U20 Cup of Nations, grew through the club’s ranks before their promotion to the A team in 2019.