Juninho says reputation tainted by drug charges

Updated: Oct 20, 2012, 19:28 PM IST

Rio de Janeiro: Former Brazil international midfielder Juninho says he has had his name unfairly tainted after being cleared of drug charges by a Brazilian sports tribunal.

The Vasco da Gama free-kick specialist was found not guilty of breaching the World Anti-Doping Code by failing to provide a test sample directly after leaving the pitch during a match last month, reports from a news agency.

"I feel like I have been morally punished for having to come here and explain something I did not do," said the former star of French top-flight outfit Lyon.

"My reputation has been stained in France because it has been linked to doping, something that I have never done. It`s disappointing to have to explain to everybody what happened."

Juninho, capped 47 times for Brazil, was accused of violating the drug code after visiting his side`s changing room before providing a urine sample after Vasco`s away fixture to Ponte Preta Sep 23.

Vasco doctor Albino Pinto later explained the 37-year-old had returned to the rooms to pick up his bag to avoid being late for a connecting flight.

It was initially thought Juninho could receive a two-year ban, the maximum penalty for the charges.

Despite Juninho`s acquittal, Vasco was fined $1,500 for "failing to adhere to its legal obligation of complying with competition rules".