World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has sent a very serious warning to Italy over doping.
The warning came after an Italian 2008 Beijing Olympic 50km walk champion Alex Schwazer, who was given eight-year ban of doping was cleared by an Italian court in Bolzano last month.
“I don’t want Italy to be on the wrong side of history here,” added Coe.
“The Athletics Integrity Unit and World Athletics stand absolutely by the position they’ve taken.
“The issue is clearly one that is exercising Italy and it is important that we remain very firm and very resolute here.
“I don’t want Italian track and field to be tainted, I just hope that people recognise that this is an important issue and history will be unkind.”
At the Italian court, criminal court case against Schwazer was dismissed after the court stated it was possible that the sample was tampered with to show up a positive result.
Schwazer was given the lengthy ban as it was his second doping offence, having previously served a three-and-a-half year suspension for testing positive for erythropoietin before the London 2012 Olympics.
It had initially given negative results, but a new analysis revealed traces of steroids.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) gave the Beijing 2008 50-kilometre race walk champion an eight-year ban for his second offence, but after the Italian court ruling, Coe criticised its decision.
“We do resolutely reject any attempt by the athlete or any individuals associated with the athlete to undermine or seek to annul the final CAS ruling,” said Coe in a press conference.
“It was an award based on what can be best described as far-fetched manipulation theories.”
CAS rejected an appeal from Schwazer to overturn his lengthy ban in August 2016 and the Swiss Federal court upheld CAS’ ruling when the Italian later appealed to it.
Schwazer was stripped of a World Race Walking Team Championships title won in Rome in 2016 as a result of the second anti-doping violation.