Maria Sharapova Suspended 2 Years For Violating The ITF’s Anti-doping Policy. | Gradient
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Maria Sharapova suspended 2 years for violating the ITF’s anti-doping policy.

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Three months ago, Maria Sharapova announced that she failed a drug test administered by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) during January’s Australian Open. Today, the ITF imposed a two-year suspension for her Mildronate use, a banned substance.

Sharapova, in a statement published to her Facebook, maintains that she did not intend to take a banned substance and that she will appeal what she deems an “unfairly harsh” sentence:

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.

She also notes in her statement that the ITF tribunal corroborated her alleged intention to compete according to league rules. However, according to page 21 of the full tribunal report, her pattern of using Mildronate before matches without medical clearance and with an apparent attempt to conceal its use from anti-doping authorities, indicates a desire to cheat. And that means that if anything, she deserved the standard four-year suspension given to “intentional” cheaters. Sharapova got off easy.

Plenty could be said about the inherent vagaries of identifying intent in PED violations, but nonetheless, Sharapova should drop her appeal and quit while she’s ahead.

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