IFWT_Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova was suspended for two years by the International Tennis Federation on Wednesday, a result of her testing positive for the banned substance meldonium, a blood-flow boosting drug.

The ITF, last month before the tribunal, asked for Sharapova to be suspended for four years, but the rules state that she could not be suspended for longer than two years if it were deemed that her use of the drug was not intentional.

“Today, with their decision of a two-year suspension, the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional,” Sharapova said in a statement. “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 amount 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.”

Sharapova said she will appeal the decision.

“I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” Sharapova said. “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.”

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source: ESPN