Acerbi focusing on cancer fight after doping ban overturned
Sassuolo's Francesco Acerbi will be able to focus fully on his battle with cancer after his doping ban was overturned, says his lawyer.
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 Genoa on December 1, incurring a suspension from the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).
Although a naturally occurring substance, hCG produces effects similar to anabolic steroids, and is therefore a banned substance in many sports.
However, a Sassuolo statement on December 20 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.
The former Milan man, who received an Italy call-up in August 2012, had previously professed his innocence and expressed anger at being labelled a drug cheat.
And at a hearing on Wednesday, his ban was officially overturned.
According to his lawyer, Matthias Grassani, the outcome means that the player can now concentrate fully on his fight to regain his health.
"This is an outcome which brings serenity and distances Acerbi from the shadow of indulging with prohibited practices, something which he has never adopted," Grassani told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Justice has been done and now Acerbi can concentrate exclusively on receiving medical care to get over his illness as soon as possible."