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Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 20:28 GMT 21:28 UK
Davids ban reduced
Michael Owen battles with Edgar Davids
Davids (right) played against England last month
Juventus and Holland midfielder Edgar Davids' drugs suspension has been reduced to four months by the appeals court of the Italian football federation.

The appeals body reduced his ban by one month, with all Italian league players punished for testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone now given the same four-month penalty.

The other players concerned are Lazio's Fernando Couto, Bari's Belgian keeper Jean Francois Gillet, Parma's Stefano Torrisi and Piacenza's Stefano Sacchetti and Nicola Caccia.

Davids is eligible to return to action with Juventus on 17 September.

Portuguese defender Couto, who had originally received a 10-month suspension, could be back in action with Lazio at the weekend.

Fernando Couto
Couto: "bitter" about the case

Couto's suspension had begun earlier, in April.

The panel, led by judge Cesare Martellino, upheld fines of 32,000 apiece for Davids and Couto.

Davids, who had been seeking the cancellation of the suspension claiming that homeopathic medicines could have been behind the high levels of nandrolone, did not attend the hearing.

Couto, who always denied any wrongdoing, said he was looking forward to playing again.

He said: "I am so happy to be getting back to football.

"I am ready to start playing again. There won't be any problems physically, maybe just in my mind.

"I have to admit that the bitterness and everything else I have felt will be difficult to forget.".

See also:

28 Aug 01 |  Europe
Davids gets five-month ban
03 Aug 01 |  Europe
Davids set for eight-month ban
28 Aug 01 |  Europe
De Boer takes on Uefa
20 Jul 01 |  Europe
Couto banned for 10 months
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