Middlesbrough defender Abel Xavier is to contest his drugs ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The 33-year-old Portuguese defender was given an 18-month ban by Uefa after testing positive for an anabolic steroid in September.

Xavier has always protested his innocence and claims the positive test resulted from medication for a virus which affected his immune system.

“I will fight, I have the right to go to a civil court because I want a fair and common sense decision,” he said.

Xavier failed a routine test after Boro’s Uefa Cup tie against Xanthi when his sample showed the presence of the steorid dianabol.

Xavier said: “I will fight, I will go to the end because at this moment I cannot work.

“I think an 18-month ban was very, very severe.”

Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive fears Xavier’s appeal is unlikely to succeed.

Taylor said: “I think it’s going to be an extremely difficult case to turn round now.

“The judges are going to say the rules were clearly laid down and that if you’re on medication for a virus there was ample opportunity to tell the Middlesbrough club doctor.”

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