Mutu given nine-month ban

Former Chelsea and now Fiorentina striker Adrian Mutu has been handed a nine-month ban after he failed Italian Olympic Committee anti-doping tests back in January.

The 31-year-old Romania striker twice tested positive for sibutramine following games against Bari and Lazio in January.

Mutu has already spent two months on the sidelines and his latest ban will now run until October.

The Romania striker's spell at Chelsea during the 2003-04 season came to a sorry end when he was sacked by the Premier League club after being found guilty of cocaine use and banned for seven months.

Mutu had blamed slimming tablets given to him for his mother for the presence of the substance in his latest failed test.

"Nine-month ban for Adrian Mutu – this is the decision taken by the anti-doping tribunal regarding the positive test for the substance sibutramine by the Viola player," confirmed a statement from the Italian club.

"The Viola player had been suspended since January 29 after the positive tests following the game against Bari on January 10 and Lazio on January 20 in the Italian Cup."

Mutu himself has spoken of his shock at the severity of his latest punishment.

"I feel this is a harsh punishment," he said."It seems too much. I expected less because, yes, the mistake was made, it's right to pay, but not so much.

"I would like to add that I am sorry for having left Fiorentina without my services for the next few months, both for the club and for the fans."

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