The doping case against Sassuolo’s Francesco Acerbi has been dismissed by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).
The defender was found to have abnormal levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in his blood stream – a substance that can be produced by cancerous cells – after his side’s Serie A match with Cagliari on December 1, landing him a suspension from the governing body.
Although a naturally occurring substance, hCG produces effects similar to anabolic steroids, and is therefore banned in many sports.
However, a Sassuolo statement in December subsequently confirmed that Acerbi – who has been treated for testicular cancer in the past – had suffered a relapse, with the player subsequently launching an appeal over his suspension.
That appeal was heard on January 8 and the ban was overturned, and on Monday CONI released a statement confirming that the 26-year-old’s case had been dismissed.
“The national anti-doping tribunal has accepted the request by the anti-doping agency to declare Francesco Acerbi, a member of club Sassuolo, not responsible for any violation of the anti-doping rules,” the statement read.