HEAD ISSUES STATEMENT CONCERNING MARIA SHARAPOVA
Statement by Johan Eliasch, Chairman and CEO of HEAD
As a company, HEAD has a strict anti-doping policy. We believe the use of WADA banned substances with the intent to enhance performance or gain unfair advantages must be sanctioned.
In Maria's Sharapova’s case, we have analyzed the facts and circumstances in great detail in order to reach a firm conclusion about our association with her in light of her recent announcement.
The facts as we know them today are that since January 1st, 2016, the WADA has banned the usage of meldonium and that. Maria has taken mildronat and other medications since 2006 as a result of the frequency by which she had the flu, abnormal EKG results and indicators of diabetes with a family history of diabetes. Mildronate is another name for meldonium.
On this basis we conclude that although it is beyond doubt that she tested positive for the use of a WADA banned substance, the circumstantial evidence is equally beyond doubt that the continued use of meldonium after Jan 1st, 2016 in the dosages she had been recommended, which were significantly short of performance enhancing levels, was a manifest error by Maria. In the absence of any evidence of any intent by Maria of enhancing her performance or trying to gain an unfair advantage through the use of mildronate, we further conclude this falls into the category of 'honest' mistakes.
Furthermore, we question WADA¹s decision to add Meldonium to its banned substances list in the manner it did; we believe the correct action by WADA would have been to impose a dosage limitation only. In the circumstances we would encourage WADA to release scientific studies which validates their claim that Meldonium should be a banned substance.
The honesty and courage she displayed in announcing and acknowledging her mistake was admirable. HEAD is proud to stand behind Maria, now and into the future and we intend to extend her contract. Maria may have made a mistake, but she has earned the benefit of the doubt and we are extending it to her. We look forward to many more years of working with Maria.