ITF Issues Sharapova Response
ITF Issues Sharapova Response: The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has defended itself against Maria Sharapova and the handling of her Meldonium case.
The ITF denied the tennis player’s claims that they sought out a four-year ban and she was targeted.
The ITF also stressed it had no knowledge the drug, meldonium, had been put on the banned drugs list.
“The ITF did not try to ban Ms. Sharapova for four years, as has been suggested,” the tennis governing body said.
“The ITF stated clearly that it was the responsibility of the Independent Tribunal — and subsequently the CAS Panel — to determine what the appropriate sanction should be.”
It added: “Ms. Sharapova has stated that the Independent Tribunal was ‘not neutral’.
“Ms. Sharapova’s legal team was given the opportunity to object to the appointment of any member of that Tribunal in advance of the hearing, and they agreed in writing that they had no such objection.”
The ITF believed it had taken appropriate steps to publicise changes to the prohibited list and it was “not true” to say that it was aware of widespread use of meldonium in Eastern Europe and should have given specific notice.
“In fact, it was accepted by Ms. Sharapova in the hearing before CAS that the ITF did not know before 2016 about the extent to which meldonium was used by athletes from any region, or that Ms. Sharapova herself was using meldonium,” it said.
The ITF pointed out that the WADA monitoring programme is conducted anonymously and WADA “does not inform any anti-doping organisation about the prevalence of such use until it publishes the results of the monitoring programme.”