Fiorentina to stand by Mutu after doping ban

FIORENTINA have vowed to stand by striker Adrian Mutu as he faces up to the second lengthy drugs ban of his career.

Italy's National Anti-Doping Tribunal has handed Mutu a nine-month ban after he tested positive for sibutramine in January, ruling him out until the end of October.

An anti-doping prosecutor had asked for a one-year ban but Mutu's representatives argued he should serve just a three or four-month suspension because they said he consumed sibutramin by accident in a herbal laxative medicine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"ACF Fiorentina, following the nine-month suspension imposed by the National Anti- Doping Tribunal on Adrian Mutu, reiterates its support for the players, as demonstrated throughout this period, starting in January," said a club statement. "The club also notes that, while it always hoped for a shorter ban, the outcome underlines the validity of the defence presented as it has allowed Mutu to avoid a two-year ban, and also to receive a ban three months shorter than that requested by the prosecutor, who asked for a period of one year."

Mutu failed two drugs tests in January, the first following the game against Bari on 10 January and the second against Lazio on 20 January in the Italian Cup. He has been suspended since 29 January, meaning he will be eligible again after 29 October.

While the ban is far from the worst outcome for Mutu, it nevertheless represents another stain on what has become a troubled career. The problems began in 2004 when the forward, one year into his Chelsea career after a 15.8million move from Parma, tested positive for cocaine. He received a seven-month ban from football, but Chelsea sacked him before then suing him to recover the money they paid to sign him.

Mutu signed for Juventus once he was able to play again, but the incident has dogged him ever since as Fifa ordered him to pay 15mn to Chelsea, and his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the fine failed. Mutu is currently pursuing another appeal. While Mutu had no defence when charged with cocaine use, this time the Romania international told prosecutors the traces of sibutramine found in his tests were the result of slimming tablets given to him by his mother.

Sibutramine is largely known as an appetite suppressant.

Yesterday, the 31-year-old reacted angrily to the ruling.

"I feel this is a harsh punishment," he said. "It seems too much. I expected less because, yes, the mistake was made, it's right to pay, but not so much. I would like to add that I am sorry for having left Fiorentina without my services for the next few months, both for the club and for the fans."

There had been speculation linking Mutu with a move away from the Viola this summer, but that now seems unlikely.