Believe it or not, but the doping scandal engulfing cycling after Lance Armstrong‘s Oprah interview last week could be about to hit football. We take a look at who’s involved.
By Eddie P. Oliver
Mamma Mia! No, sorry that’s Italy. Mi madre! That better? Su padre! No entiendo?
Dear lord my Spanish is like Del Boy’s French. But even he knows the score when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs – only fools get involved in the type of thick stuff Lance Armstrong’s been trudging through this past week.
Ouch! What’s that? A good ole kick in the Balearics for myself and football fans across the world. Because Spain will become embroiled in one el of a doping crisis next week when a dodgy doctor called Eufemiano Fuentes goes on trial.
He’s charged with public health offences relating to Operation Puerto, a police investigation spawned by a raid at his office in 2006. What’s the Phil Neal with that, I hear you say? Well this fly guy, who’s 56, has freely admitted working with Spanish footballers in the past, as well as cyclists and tennis stars.
If in doubt, Google him. His one official job in football was as Las Palmas’ team doctor. But it’s widely acknowledged that he’s had more glamorous roles since. He once implicated his own country’s superstar players in the scandal by saying: “If I would talk, the Spanish football team would be stripped of the 2010 World Cup.”
Where’s the proof? Funnily enough, it appears the Spanish government have locked it away somewhere and God knows where the key is. Let’s face it – who’d want their country’s international success stories undone emotionally and commercially, thus jeopardising the jobs of everyone from the tea lady to the striker used to running past two or three before sticking it in the onion bag?
No, me either.
Dave Howman, the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), says: “We have been banging our heads against a brick wall to get access to the evidence that was gathered.”
Like a makeshift bog at a music festival, this really does stink. Next week, the cyclists (some would say easier targets than a cow with no legs these days) will get it tight in court. There will hardly be a peep about those who grace the biggest, most lucrative, sport of them all.
We’re all scared of considering the possibility. Nobody wants to believe it. Not me, not you. Not even the athletes themselves. And as the case of deluded liar Armstrong proved, sports cheats aren’t vein-pulsing meat heads running around drinking protein shakes.
Do yourself a favour – don’t be a dope…and keep your eyes and mind wide open.
Could football really be about to unearth its own doping scandal? Tweet us @talkingbaws or comment below.