The Court of Arbitration for Sport has reduced a two-year suspension imposed by the International Tennis Federation on Maria Sharapova.
The court upheld her appeal saying her violation of the anti-doping was “no significant fault” and reduced her ban by nine months.
CAS Secretary General, Mattieu Reeb told journalists,
“The CAS panel in charge of this matter had to examine whether the player’s fault was significant or not significant. The CAS arbitrators considered that Miss Sharapova bore some degree of fault as she and her entourage failed to make sure that the substance contained in a product that she has been taking over a long period of time remained in compliance with the anti-doping regulations. Consequently the CAS panel determined that the proper sanction was a suspension of 15 months starting from the 26th of January 2016…“She was using mildronate, that’s the substance Meldonium, for a long time, and she was probably continuing to use this substance after the 1st of January 2016. Her fault was, as you said, that she did not realise that this substance was prohibited from that moment. But she could provide explanations for the reason why she could not determine why this substance was in fact prohibited, she admitted some ignorance and so her entourage also has some responsibilities about that.”
The five-time Grand Slam champion will return to tennis in April 2017 .
Sharapova was handed the original ban, backdated to start on Jan. 26, 2016, by the ITF following her positive test for the drug meldonium.
She admitted taking meldonium during the season’s opening grand slam in Melbourne but said she had been unaware that it had been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency .
In a facebook statement she said she had learned a lesson from the “tough months” behind her and could not wait to return to tennis
“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,” the 29-year-old said in the message to fans on her facebook page.