Cannavaro cleared of doping

ROME - Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro was cleared of doping on Monday after failing a drugs test following treatment for an insect sting, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said.

"(CONI's anti-doping tribunal) has dropped proceedings against Fabio Cannavaro, considering well-founded the prosecutor's request for them to be dropped," read a statement on CONI's website.

The Juventus defender received emergency cortisone treatment for a sting on August 28 and failed a dope test after a Serie A match two days later.

The 36-year-old had requested an exemption for the medication but did not receive it before he was tested because of a mix-up over the documentation.

Cannavaro said on Monday his club had messed up with the exemption request but blasted the media for their handling of the story.

"I'm furious," Cannavaro told reporters at the training centre near Florence where Italy are preparing for their final 2010 World Cup qualifier against Cyprus. "My conscience is clean.

"You get stung by a bee and then you find yourself in the newspaper as if you had been doping. Some newspapers and television channels went too far.

"It's the second time in my life that I've found myself gratuitously in the newspapers for a story like this.

"I hope this story does not follow me beyond today. My career has always been distinguished by respect for the rules."

Cannavaro was famously videoed inserting a drip into his arm on the eve of a 3-0 victory over Olympique Marseille in the 1999 UEFA Cup final when playing for Parma.

His lawyer confirmed the drip contained Neoton, a drug used in cardiac surgery to protect the heart, and was not on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances.

The defender is expected to return for Italy against Cyprus in Parma on Wednesday. He missed Saturday's 2-2 draw with Ireland in Dublin, which secured the world champions's place in South Africa, through suspension.