Portugese defender bannedAbel Xavier, the Portugese defender, has become the first Premiership footballer to be suspended after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Xavier received an 18-month worldwide ban that also cleared the way for Middlesbrough to cancel his £25,000-a-week one-year contract.

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren said, “In this situation it is unfortunate that Middlesbrough are involved. He is not going to play again this season, whether he appeals or not. He had done well for us and was becoming a big player but we have to deal with it.”

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