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Athletes Guardiola, Stam Suspended

January 24, 2002

MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Dutch defender Jaap Stam, who plays for Lazio of Rome, was suspended for five months Thursday by the Italian League for testing positive for the banned steroid Nandrolone.

Spanish midfielder Josep Guardiola, who plays for Brescia, was suspended for four months for testing positive for Nandrolone.

Stam tested positive for Nandrolone after Lazio’s Oct. 13 game against Atalanta of Bergamo and was suspended Nov. 16. Guardiola tested positive after the Oct. 21 game against Piacenza and the Nov. 4 game against Lazio.

When they were questioned Thursday by the league’s disciplinary commission, both denied using Nandrolone. Their lawyers suggested that nutritional supplements could have caused the positive tests, and both players said they will appeal.

``My conscience is clean,″ Stam said.

``I’m confident I will prove my innocence,″ Guardiola said.

The commission also fined the pair $43,930 each and ordered random anti-doping tests over a four-month period.

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