Court annuls doping suspension on Romario

February 15th, 2008 - 8:31 pm ICT by admin  

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 15 (DPA) Veteran Brazilian striker Romario can resume playing football after a court annulled Thursday a 120-day suspension imposed in December for a positive doping test. Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice (STJD) repealed the ban on the grounds that the player did not know that the hair tonic he had been using for several years contained the banned substance Finasteride.

“I leave with a clear conscience, because I know everyone respects me. I was always clean and for three months I had to live with that stain on my life. Now I can say I’m innocent,” Romario said upon hearing the sentence.

The striker, 42, even said he felt “younger” after being cleared by the highest sports court in Brazil.

“I triumphed and I am happy. I remain a clean guy. Now I can get on with my life,” he said.

The session had to be suspended for a few minutes when Romario - who by his own controversial count has scored more than 1,000 goals - burst into tears as he told the court about the tough times he is living through.

Romario, who broke with the club Vasco da Gama just over a week ago, told the STJD that Vasco doctors knew he had been using the medication for 10 years to prevent hair loss and they never told him it contained a banned substance.

Romario noted that Brazil doctor Jose Luiz Runco also knew of the medication. He said he was tested for doping seven times while using the drug, without ever testing positive.

Despite the striker’s allegations, STJD prosecutor Paulo Schmidt asked that the 120-day suspension imposed on Romario on December 5 be maintained, arguing that Finasteride can be used to mask the presence of anabolic steroids.

However, the four judges at the court unanimously ruled to annul the suspension.

Despite the court decision, Romario’s future in football remained uncertain. He left Vasco da Gama last week, following disagreements with club president Eurico Miranda, and there is speculation that he might be negotiating with Flamengo.

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