Doping ban increased on Sampdoria striker Flachi

June 22, 2007

ROME, June 22 (Reuters) - Sampdoria striker Francesco Flachi has had his doping ban increased to two years, the Italian Football League said on Friday.

The 32-year-old was initially handed a 16-month ban by the League's disciplinary committee after testing positive for cocaine following a 2-0 defeat to Inter Milan on Jan. 28.

The decision to increase his punishment was taken in response to an appeal by the anti-doping wing of the Italian Olympic Committee.

Flachi, who claimed the drug was contained in a cigarette offered to him by someone he did not know, has been suspended from competition since Feb. 22.

He will be able to return to play in Feb. 2009.