Spain midfield player Josep Guardiola's doping suspension has been ratified at four months while Dutch international Jaap Stam's has been reduced by one month to four, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said on Friday.
Both players, whose suspensions had been backdated to start on 22 November, tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone earlier in the season. Guardiola, who plays for Brescia Calcio, and S.S. Lazio defender Stam were also fined €50,000 by the Italian league's disciplinary commission.
The players can be tested without warning in the future and have no right to appeal, CONI said in a statement. Their suspensions were extended worldwide by FIFA, the world game's governing body, on Wednesday.
Suspended from all matches
The pair are now suspended for all matches, including friendly games, dating back from 22 November last year. Stam was suspended from football in Italy on 17 November. It was revealed he had failed an anti-doping test after the 13 October league match against Atalanta BC.
'Belongs to the past'
Stam told Lazio's official website: "Certainly I would have preferred to have been released [from the suspension] in as much as the commission has recognised my lack of intention, but now this belongs to the past. What is important is that the reduction means I can return to the squad a month earlier."
The central defender will now be eligible to play against Brescia on 17 March. "The end of the tunnel is increasingly close," added Stam. "I am happy that the commission, in reducing my disqualification, have recognised the fact that I have never taken illegal substances in a voluntary way."
Guardiola was suspended on 22 November after testing positive following two separate matches - against Piacenza FC on 21 October and Lazio on 4 November. The former FC Barcelona player will be available to play for Spain at this summer's 2002 FIFA World Cup.