“Sporting bans are something of a hot topic at the minute with serial naughty boy Chris Ashton receiving a monster 13 week ban for biting an opponent. However the Wigan man can count himself lucky as the maximum ban he could have faced was an eye-watering 208 weeks! Joey Barton’s Rangers career hangs in the balance after yet another training ground bust up - he bloody loves a good training ground scuffle - resulting in a three-week ban. But what are the five longest bans ever received in sport? Here’s my countdown.” JJ
5. David Attoub – 18 Months
David Attoub is a 35-year-old French prop who has four international rugby caps to his name and currently plays for Top 14 team Montpellier. He has a monster 141 caps for Stade Francais spanning between 2007 and 2014, but he’s probably most famous for an atrocious act in December 2009. Stade Francais were playing Ulster in the Heineken Cup and the big prop was cited for a horrific eye-gauge. In line with Law 10.4 he was given a whopping 70 week ban. It was said after that a previous eye gouging offence contributed to the severity of the ban – maybe leave the eyes alone for a bit, Dave.
4. Mariano Puerta – 2 years
The Argentinian 38-year-old has three career titles to his name but he’s never gotten further than the second round in any grand slam. One of those second rounds had to be written off after he was found to have taken prohibited substance etilifrine. He was caught after his 2005 French Open match to Rafael Nadal and was initially given an eight year ban! This was more than likely due to the fact that he had already been caught for drugs back in 2003. The ban was later reduced to two years after he claimed he had only ingested trace amounts left over in his wife’s wine glass – likely story mate.
3. Mohammed Ali – 3 Years
The great Mohammed Ali needs no introduction. He was given a simply ridiculous ban of three years for not signing up to the USA in the 1967 Vietnam War. Not only was he banned but he was given a jail sentence of five years, which was later overturned. During his time off he travelled round colleges speaking of his opposition to the war and advocating African American pride. After his ban he went on to compete in some of the greatest boxing matches of all time including “The Fight Of The Century”, “The Rumble In The Jungle” and “The Thriller In Manilla”.
2. Justin Gatlin – 4 Years
The villain at any athletics meeting, Justin Gatlin was banned for a massive four years back in 2005 for taking testosterone. He’s a two time indoor world champion but before his first victory in the 60m, back in 2001 he was handed a two year ban for testing positive for amphetamine, which was later reduced to a year after appeal. However he was up to his old tricks again in 2006 when given his ban for testosterone use. He haggled an eight year ban out of the IAAF which was later reduced to four years because of “exceptional circumstances”.
1. Lance Armstrong – Life
This is probably the most talked about and controversial scandal in sporting history. Seven time Tour De France champion and inspirational cancer survivor Lance Armstrong admitting to doping for the entirety of his career. He had been accused of drug use since his Tour victory in 1999, including extensive and detailed allegations in a book published by David Walsh and Pierre Ballester named L.A. Confidentiel in 2004. But it took until 2012 for anything to happen when the United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation concluded that Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs over the course of his career.
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