Maria Sharapova To Appeal Following 2-Year Ban For Failing Drugs Test

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5-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has been banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation for using a prohibited drug.

She was banned after testing positive for meldonium at January’s Australian Open. Read here if you missed.

According to BBC, the 29-year-old who had earlier revealed that she had been using the drug since 2006 for health issues, said she “cannot accept” the “unfairly harsh” ban – and will appeal.

Sharapova will challenge the suspension, which is backdated to 26 January 2016, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

Read her full statement below.

“Today with their decision of a two year suspension, the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional. The tribunal found that I did not seek treatment from my doctor for the purpose of obtaining a performance enhancing substance. The ITF spent tremendous amounts of time and resources trying to prove I intentionally violated the anti-doping rules and the tribunal concluded I did not. You need to know that the ITF asked the tribunal to suspend me for four years – the required suspension for an intentional violation — and the tribunal rejected the ITF’s position.

While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension. The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

I have missed playing tennis and I have missed my amazing fans, who are the best and most loyal fans in the world. I have read your letters. I have read your social media posts and your love and support has gotten me through these tough days. I intend to stand for what I believe is right and that’s why I will fight to be back on the tennis court as soon as possible.

Love, Maria

P.S. My lawyer prepared a short summary of how the ITF process works so I thought I would pass it along to my fans so you too can be aware of what the ITF rules call for”

Sharapova’s suspension makes Serena Williams the current highest earning female athlete, a position Sharapova had occupied for the past 11 years.

Recall the tennis pro had lost a number of endorsement deals including Nike, Tag Heuer, Porsche, as well as her Goodwill Ambassador position with United Nations.

 

Written by Olufunke Edidi 

 

 

 


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