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Sharapova can give “substantial help” to reduce penalty

Providing “substantial assistance” in the investigation into her positive for doping can help Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova to reduce the sanction imposed by the International Federation (ITF), which could go up to a maximum of four years.
Sources from the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sports (AEPSAD) told Efe that, since meldonium is a “non-specific” substance, the sanction is in principle from that four-year period.
A “non-specific” substance is one that is not in drugs that may become in common use.
If Sharapova, who confessed on Monday that she had tested positive at the Australian Open, shows that she was not taking this substance with the intention of improving her sports performance, the suspension could be reduced considerably.
Once the ITF agrees on a basic sanction, the period of suspension can be reduced in two ways, specifies the AEPSAD.
The first requires the athlete to prove contamination, lack of fault or negligence. Sharapova admitted her full responsibility in the voluntary consumption of meldonium, although she assured that she was taking it for health reasons and recalled that the substance has only been prohibited since last January 1. He forgot to consult the new list of prohibitions, he claimed.
The second avenue of suspension shortened under the World Anti-Doping Code requires the offender to make an immediate confession and provide “substantial assistance” to anti-doping authorities.
Calling a press conference by Sharapova before the ITF released the positive would respond to this desire to see the sentence reduced with a quick confession.
On aid, Article 10.6.1 of the Code says that “a person who provides substantial aid must fully disclose by means of a written and signed declaration all the information that he possesses in relation to the infractions of the anti-doping rules; and fully cooperate in the investigation and decisions made on any case related to that information, including, for example, testifying during a hearing if required. “
Furthermore, “the information provided must be credible and constitute an important part of the open case or, if it was not initiated, it must have provided a sufficient basis on which a case could have been processed”.
The Code includes several examples of the application of this article 10. In the best case scenario, if Sharapova were to prove that the doping was unintentional, it would start with a two-year sanction. If, in addition, you admit absence of fault or negligence, it could be reduced to between one and two years. Finally, if the athlete offers substantial help, the penalty period would be cut by three-quarters.
The degree to which the ITF admits the arguments of Sharapova’s defense will therefore depend on whether the sanction is four years or only a few months.
The tennis player, who will turn 29 in April, expressed her wish that, in any case, the suspension does not mean the end of her career and that she can return to competition after completing it. She is currently ranked seventh in the WTA rankings. EFE

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