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October 14, 2009

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Cannavaro relieved as CONI drops case

THE doping case against Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro was dropped by the Italian Olympic Committee on Monday and the defender said he did nothing wrong and was bothered by the public outrage his positive test sparked.

CONI's anti-doping court made the move after prosecutor Ettore Torri questioned Cannavaro last week and ascertained that the positive test was a result of cortisone used to treat a bee sting. "My conscience is clean," Cannavaro said.

"You get stung by a bee and you end up seeing yourself in the paper treated like a doper," Cannavaro said. "I thought I was dreaming. Some papers and TV stations took it too far."

Cortisone can be administered if authorization for therapeutic needs is granted beforehand, and it was unclear if Juventus received CONI's permission.

Juventus and club physician Bartolomeo Goitre could still be sanctioned by CONI.

Meanwhile the Italian captain also said that he would retire if the Azzurri defend their World Cup title. "If you want to get rid of me, let me raise that cup," Cannavaro said, adding that repeating the 2006 success "would be a miracle."

The 36-year-old is set to make his 130th appearance for Italy against Cyprus today.

Cannavaro added that "Brazil and Spain will be favored slightly" in South Africa, "but we're right there behind them."

Italy is considering training at high altitude before traveling to South Africa.

The defending champion was sluggish in June at the Confederations Cup, playing each of its games on the high veldt in Johannesburg and Pretoria, where the altitude approaches 1,750 meters at some points.

Abandoning their normal training base near Florence, the Azzurri could head to the Alps in northern Italy come May.


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