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Doping In La Liga?

SyringeFirst match-fixing and now doping. Not the best day to be a football fan.

If you follow cycling, you will be aware that over the last 10 years, Spanish doctors have been linked with some of the biggest doping scandals in that sport.

With all the money that is involved in professional football it is not too big a jump to wonder if any Spanish football clubs have been involved in doping also?

Well in an article in the Guardian today, the former president of Real Sociedad says that club’s players had been involved with doping practices.

Inaki Badiola, who was president of the La Liga club between 2008 and 2009, told the Spanish news website AS.com that the board of directors had struck off two doctors when they discovered payments for what were banned substances at the time.

The doctors, Eduardo Escobar and Antxon Gorrotxategi, had apparently made the payments over a six-year period.

Badiola said:

“In 2008 our board publicly denounced the doctors Eduardo Escobar and Antxon Gorrotxategi because in the six seasons before us (with Jose Luis Astiazaran president between 2001-05, Miguel Fuentes between 2005-07, and Juan Larzabal between 2007-8) they gave payments for medicines or products which, at the time, were classified as doping.”

They acquired substances which were not authorised. In my years, 2008 and 2009, there were no strange medical practices. We did an audit of the previous six years.”

Badiola said that individual players were not investigated, and that no specific names were mentioned. Instead the investigation focused on the medical staff.

“We have not gone against the players and we do not know if all were subjected to such practices.

“No names were mentioned – our investigation was directed against the physicians.

“I think in football doping may not be as necessary as, for example, in cycling.”

Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes is currently on trial accused of involvement in the widespread doping of professional cyclists. Fuentes has offered to name the footballers, cyclists, athletes and boxers he had worked with but the judge in the case has refused to insist that he do so.

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