Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Arijan Ademi has had his four-year ban for a doping offence halved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The 24-year-old tested positive for a banned substance following the 2-1 Champions League victory over Arsenal in September 2015 and UEFA promptly launched an investigation.
Following a hearing in Switzerland, European football’s governing body issued a lengthy suspension to the Macedonia international, who has always denied any intentional wrongdoing and blamed his failed test on a contaminated prescription supplement.
Ademi took his case to CAS and, although his bid to have the sanction overturned has failed, his suspension has been shortened to two years.
“The panel found that in the special circumstances of this case, while the player discharged his burden of proving lack of intent, it could not uphold the player’s argument that the challenged decision should be annulled,” CAS said in a statement.
“Instead, as the panel found that a reduction in the period of ineligibility was appropriate, the appeal was partially upheld. Consequently, a period of ineligibility of two years, beginning on October 7 2015, is imposed on Arijan Ademi.”
Ademi is now free to return to football later this year.