CAS imposes severe doping bans on 34 AFL players

Melbourne, Jan 12 (IANS) The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has announced that 34 current or former players from the Essendon Australian Rules football club should be suspended for the 2016 season.

CAS upheld World Anti-Doping Agency’s appeal against the decision of the Australian Football League’s anti-doping tribunal last March to clear the players of taking the banned substance thymosin-beta 4 in 2012, reports Xinhua.

In a statement issued on Monday, CAS said it was satisfied the players had taken the banned substance and were significantly at fault, imposing mandatory two-year bans.

CAS said most of the 34 would be suspended until November 13 this year, depending on the backdating that applies in each case.

The court rejected an argument of “no significant fault, no significant negligence” which could have drastically reduced the sentences.

Palermo hire Schelotto to replace Ballardini

Palermo have hired former Argentina international Guillermo Barros Schelotto as coach, replacing Davide Ballardini who was sacked after just two months in charge, the Serie A club has announced.

“Guillermo Barros Schelotto is the new coach of Palermo,” said a statement on the club’s website on Monday, reports Xinhua.

“The Argentine will be assisted by Fabio Viviani, who in the course of the last week had just began training the first team.”

Ballardini arrived for his second spell at the club in November when he replaced Giuseppe Iachini, who became the 29th coach to be sacked by owner Maurizio Zamparini.

Ballardini’s second spell with the Sicilians left Zamparini looking elsewhere within a matter of weeks.

He began with a draw away to Lazio but saw Palermo register four defeats and just two wins since then.

Palermo won at Verona last weekend but it was widely reported that Ballardini, despite being on the touchlines, did not talk to the players either before or after the game.

Schelotto, 42, previously won the Copa Sudamericana with Argentine top flight side Lanus, in 2013.

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