Errani banned for two months over doping violation

Updated: 

Sara Errani has been banned for two months for a doping violation, with an independent tribunal deciding she had likely ingested a prohibited substance through accidental food contamination.

The former world number five, who reached the French Open final in 2012, tested positive for letrozole in an out-of-competition test on February 16 and duly admitted to an anti-doping rule violation when a charge was brought by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Errani requested a personal hearing, during which her legal team argued that she ingested the prohibited substance inadvertently through her mother's anti-cancer medication 'Femara', while staying at her parents' house.

The tribunal accepted this was the most likely outcome, but rejected Errani's plea of no fault or negligence.

It ruled there was only a light degree of fault and consequently a two-month suspension commencing on August 3 was imposed, while Errani's results and prize money from February 16 to June 7 - the date of her next test, which was negative - have been disqualified.

Commenting on the decision via a lengthy statement posted on her official Twitter account, Errani wrote: "I never took, in my life and during my career, any prohibited substance.

"However, this substance is present in Femara, a medicine my mother has been using daily since 2012 for therapeutic purpose, further to a surgery for breast cancer, and therefore is present in the house where I am currently living.

"This medicinal drug is very dangerous, if used by a healthy female not in menopause yet. At the same time, no one has ever demonstrated any beneficial effects in female athletes' performances.

"Together with my family we have tried to understand how this contamination could have happened, because I am 100% certain I haven't taken a pill by mistake.

"The only viable option has been that an accidental food contamination occurred at some stage in the house. This option has been supported by a further hair test, which I voluntary underwent."

On the independent tribunal's ruling, Errani added: "I feel very frustrated, but I can only try to stand still and wait for this period to finish.

"I am extremely disappointed but - at the same time - at peace with my conscience and aware I haven't done anything wrong, neither have I committed any negligence against [the] anti-doping program."