(Reuters) – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has annulled the four-year ban imposed on Filippo Magnini by the Italian National Anti-Doping Tribunal following an appeal by the retired Italian swimmer.
Magnini, a two-times world 100 meters freestyle champion, was banned in November 2018 after being found guilty of “actual or attempted doping” by Italy’s National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO).
The 38-year-old, who retired from the sport before the NADO verdict, is also a three-times European 100m freestyle champion.
Magnini was banned along with ex-Italy relay team mate Michele Santucci, who successfully appealed his punishment last year.
Italian anti-doping prosecutors had linked Magnini’s case to that of disgraced nutritionist Guido Porcellini, who was banned for 30 years in 2018 and sentenced to 18 months in jail last year for anti-doping violations.
Investigators found paperwork from Porcellini showing he intended to send products to Magnini. They conceded that Magnini might not have used or received the products but prosecutors determined they had enough evidence to ban him.
Magnini, the world 100m freestyle champion in 2005 and 2007, has never tested positive for a banned substance and had denied the charges against him.
“The appeal of Filippo Magnini has been upheld and the four-year period of ineligibility imposed on the athlete… has been annulled,” CAS said in a statement https://www.tas-cas.org/fileadmin/user_upload/CAS_Media_Release_6307.pdf.
“On the basis of the evidence placed before it, the Panel determined that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Filippo Magnini had violated the World Anti-Doping Code.”
Magnini welcomed the CAS verdict in a post on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/B9EahGUipxT.
“I WON,” he said. “I have always won races in the last few meters. They taught me never to give up. I have always been an athlete and a correct person. I tremble with joy.”
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)