x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Doping revelations by Eufemiano Fuentes add to Spanish Primera Liga's woes

Spanish doctor's statement in court about state of football in the country only have come as a surprise to disgruntled fans.

Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes claims Spanish football is not entirely clean. EPA
Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes claims Spanish football is not entirely clean. EPA

A weariness greeted the trial of the Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in Spain. He is accused of masterminding a doping ring in cycling, charges he denies, but told the court he had clients in other sports including football, tennis and boxing.

The trial took seven years to come to court after police seized transfusion equipment, anabolic steroids and blood bags at the doctor's Valencia practice.

Among his clients were Real Sociedad, whose former president Inaki Badiola admitted at the weekend that his players were doping. He is a credible witness and claimed that the club paid €281,500 (Dh1.3 million) annually to the practice run by Fuentes. He described the purchase of "strange medicines".

He claims the doping also went on under his predecessors including Luis Astiazaran, now the president of the governing body of the Primera Liga. Astiazaran issued a denial on Monday.

The story comes after allegations of financial mismanagement, which go right to the top in government. Spaniards do not trust governance, in politics or football. In a wide ranging opinion poll, 96 per cent of respondents said they were unhappy with the way football was run. There were complaints about ticket prices which are among the highest in Europe.

Then there were concerns about corruption, criminal interference, governance and wages. It is a wonder so many still watch football. And little surprise when allegations of doping are made.

sports@thenational.ae

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