UEFA has slapped a two-match European ban on Ebi Smolarek bringing closure to a saga that originally appeared to threaten the player’s reputation. The penalty is a light one, two games less in fact than Smolarek’s legal counsel Emile Vrijman expected from European soccer’s weightiest disciplinary board. UEFA’s experts accepted without reservation that the higher than normal canabinol content in the player’s sample was not caused by active or passive smoking of any substance.

The judgement finally ends the Smolarek saga. ‘All that remained was a small percent deviation above the permitted level,’ said Feyenoord manager Jan D. Swart. ‘Based on that UEFA felt that it was obliged to hand down a minor punishment. It is no more than symbolic. Ebi was already happy last week when it was established that smoking a joint had been ruled out [as a cause]’. The extra cannabinol content in the young striker’s sample was due to the consumption of health food products. ‘I have to give my heartfelt compliments to Vrijman for his research,’ added Swart. With respect to the ban itself Smolarek will scarcely feel any adverse affects. After having just undergone surgery the Pole is not expected to return to action until next year. His agent Jan de Zeeuw confirmed that his charge would not be appealing the decision.

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