ROME (AP) — Former Italy forward Giuseppe Rossi escaped a ban on Monday despite failing a doping test.
The American-born Rossi tested positive for an eye drug that can be used as a masking agent.
The anti-doping prosecutor was seeking a one-year ban but the 31-year-old Rossi was given only a reprimand following Monday’s hearing.
The test was in May after Rossi played for Genoa at the end of the last Serie A season.
“Today a nightmare of four months is over,” Rossi wrote on Twitter. “Now I just want to think about football and keep doing what I love more than anything else.”
Dorzolamide, the substance found, is not banned when administered with eye drops but Rossi told anti-doping authorities that he did not use eye drops when he was questioned twice, in June and July. He said the positive test was because of an involuntary food contamination.
“It’s true that some guilt was ascertained but only a reprimand was imposed, a fair sanction,” Rossi’s lawyer, Sergio Puglisi Maraja, said. “From all the checks, no sign of intention was found and the use was a minimal dose.
“He needs to be more careful, but he still doesn’t understand where he could have have ingested this product.”
Rossi played for Italy from 2008-14. His career has been slowed by knee injuries, and he is currently out of contract.
He needed four knee operations from October 2011 to September 2014. He was playing in Spain in 2016 when he tore the ACL in his left knee. Rossi joined Genoa last December on a free transfer and scored one goal in 10 matches over the second half of last season.