Maria Sharapova faces a two-year ban handed to her by the International Tennis Federation for testing positive for banned drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open
In a statement released by the ITF, the federation said that Sharapova’s ban will be backdated to 26 January 2016, meaning her results from the Australian Open where she reached the quarterfinals have no standing.
“An independent tribunal appointed under Article 8.1 of the 2016 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has found that Maria Sharapova committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme and as a consequence has disqualified the affected results and imposed a period of ineligibility of two years, commencing on 26 January 2016,” the statement reads.
|Maria Sharapova banned for two years for failed drug test|
Sharapova, however, is expected to appeal against the ban.
“I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” she posted on Facebook.
“With their decision of a two-year suspension, the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional.
“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.
“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.”
Sources: BBC, Reuters