Juventus keep titles from 'dopnig' era

April 28, 2005

ROME, April 28 (Reuters) - Juventus do not have to hand back titles won in the mid-1990s even though the club's doctor was found guilty of doping offences, the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne has ruled.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) had asked CAS for its advice following the outcome of a trial in Turin last November in which Riccardo Agricola was found guilty of administering excessive pharmaceuticals to players between 1994 and 1998.

That verdict raised fears the club would have to surrender titles it won during that period, including three Italian Serie A championships and the 1996 Champions League.

'The use of pharmaceutical substances that are not expressly banned by sporting law and that are not similar to illegal substances cannot be punished by disciplinary action,' CAS was quoted as saying in La Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday.

CAS's judgement is, however, far from the end of the matter. CONI sought advice from CAS only on one part of the Turin court's judgement, that relating to drugs 'not expressly banned by the rules'.

Agricola was also found guilty of administering the banned blood-booster EPO. That verdict is under appeal.

Should Italy's Court of Appeal uphold the original sentence there could be fresh calls for Juventus to surrender their trophies and possibly another recourse to the CAS.

The magistrate who conducted the original investigation against Juventus, Raffaele Guariniello, said the case remained open.

'I've read the sentence of the Court of Arbitration. Now I'll wait for that of the Court of Appeal,' he said.