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  Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 14:52 GMT
IOC warns football over drug bans
Edgar Davids in action for Holland
Edgar Davids served a four-month ban for Juventus
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge has criticised the lenient penalties handed to footballers who have failed drugs tests.

The Belgian wants football's authorities to follow the IOC's directive and impose strict suspensions on those who test positive for banned substances.

"Today there are unjustifiable discrepancies between different nations and between different sports," he told Italian daily Gazzetto dello Sport.

"I am thinking of the two-year ban for track and field athletes (who have failed dope tests) and four-month bans for football.

Lazio's Jaap Stam lines up
Jaap Stam: Faces a ban for Lazio
"You in Italy already know something about that."

The past two seasons in Italy's premier football league, Serie A, have been blighted by a series of drugs scandals involving some of Europe's top talent.

Lazio's Dutch international Jaap Stam and Brescia's Spanish international Josep Guardiola have both tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone this season.

And last season saw Juventus' Dutch international midfielder Edgar Davids and Lazio's Portuguese international Fernando Couto both failing random drugs tests.

But compared to two of Italy's leading athletes, both Davids and Couto were handed lenient four-month bans.

Marathon runner Roberto Barbi is serving a four-year ban after testing positive for EPO in November.

And 800m runner Andrea Longo was suspended for two years by the Italian Athletics Federation after testing positive for nandrolone.

See also:

01 Dec 01 | Athletics
14 Dec 01 | Europe
28 Nov 01 | Europe
06 Sep 01 | Europe
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