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Published: 10:03 | 4/10/16

Sharpova ban reduced to 15 months


Maria Sharapova has had her doping ban reduced from two years to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sharapova was handed a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation in June after testing positive for the drug meldonium at the Australian Open, with the suspension backdated to January 26th.

Meldonium, which has been banned since the beginning of 2016, is contained in Mildronate which the Russian said she had been taking for many years to treat magnesium deficiency and potential signs of diabetes.

She appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who found that she acted with "no significant fault."

"I've gone from one of the toughest days of my career last March when I learned about my suspension to now, one of my happiest days, as I found out I can return to tennis in April," Sharapova said in a statement. "In so many ways, I feel like something I love was taken away from me and it will feel really good to have it back. Tennis is my passion and I have missed it. I am counting the days until I can return to the court."

As a result she will be eligible to play again from April 26 2017, which means she will be able to play in the French Open and Wimbledon.

A statement from the ITF read: "The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel found that Ms Sharapova had a reduced perception of the risk that she took while using Mildronate, because (a) she had used Mildronate for around ten years without any anti-doping issue, (b) she had consulted the Russian doctor who prescribed the Mildronate for medical reasons, not to enhance her performance, and (c) she had received no specific warning about the change in status of meldonium from WADA, the ITF, or the WTA.

"In addition, the CAS panel considered that it was reasonable for Ms Sharapova to entrust the checking of the Prohibited List each year to her agent."

"However, the CAS panel found that Ms Sharapova was at fault for (a) failing to give her agent adequate instructions as to how to carry out the important task of checking the Prohibited List, and (b) failing to supervise and control the actions of her agent in carrying out that task (specifically the lack of any procedure for reporting or follow-up verification to make sure that her agent had actually discharged his duty). The CAS panel also noted Ms Sharapova’s failure to disclose her use of meldonium on her doping control forms.

"Taking all of these circumstances into account, the CAS panel determined that, although Ms. Sharapova was at fault, her plea of no significant fault or negligence should be upheld, triggering a discretion to reduce the otherwise applicable two-year sanction by up to 50%. Based on its analysis of Ms Sharapova's degree of fault, the CAS panel decided that the sanction should be reduced in this case to 15 months."

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