Ex-La Real President’s doping suspicion

Former Real Sociedad President Inaki Badiola has claimed that doctors previously at the club may have been involved with doping suspect Eufemiano Fuentes.

Dr Fuentes is currently on trial for alleged doping offences that took place in 2006, although only officially for crimes against public health as doping was not illegal in Spain back then.

Following on from Fuentes’ comments last week to reporters that he treated a number of sportspeople including footballers, former La Real President Badiola has revealed his suspicions surrounding his former team’s practices pre-2008.

“What is certain is that in 2008, our board publicly denounced doctors Eduardo Escobar and Antxon Gorrotxategi because in the six seasons before us, at least, directives were given for payments to buy medicines or products that at that time were classified as doping, and so were acquired with hidden money on the black market,” Badiola told AS today.

Badiola, who was in term at Anoeta from 2008 to 2009, sees his accusation list a number of previous Presidents including most notably Jose Luis Astiazaran, who is now the current Spanish Football League President.

“Of course it can be that Eufemiano Fuentes was the doctors’ supplier. We found that the numbers in the documents in our possession agree with Fuentes, for several reasons: first, because this is what needs to be done and then, because we warned of this in 2008. Thus, it would be found that we had already denounced this.

“Why did no-one listen in 2008? Because there was no ongoing case as there exists today, which is even a little bluff, since the maximum penalty they can receive is two years in prison, which they will never serve, or so many years of disqualification.

“We arrived late and it is wrong, other than that there was very little interest from the administration on these issues.

“Now that you have the media coverage, things are easier to get covered. That is the main difference.”

Badiola explained again the accusation he is making against his old club’s doctors pre-2008.

“They acquired substances that were not authorised, with cash payments, which were given to them by the previous boards at the club, and I understand that it was not Betadine, because they would not have bought it on the black market.

“In fact, there is an email that one of the doctors sent listing some of the products they wanted to buy, and we did not authorise it.

“Fuentes’ role? He would facilitate these products, but we have to compare the amounts with those that appear in the papers from the trial. It was a pity that at the hearing, where Eufemiano wanted to list the name of all his customers, the judge did not approve it.

“Those who committed the offence here were the doctors of that era, not as those of Real Sociedad, in practices that should never have taken place.

“Astiazaran’s term? He led the club in the early years when we conducted the audit, where irregularities were, in 2002, 2003 and 2004. In my years, 2008 and 2009, there were no strange medical practices.

“We do not know if the substances bought were the same as those supplied by Eufemiano Fuentes, but we do know that during these seasons before our arrival, drugs were bought with money that in those times were not authorised.”

The former President was asked why none of the Real players tested positive for banned substances during these six seasons.

“We can say that the system is poorly regulated, there was a mistake, or that the doping was way ahead, with doctors who could cover it up perfectly, as in the case of Eufemiano.

“Besides, they will have had only a urine test without looking for EPO, which denotes neglect and unwillingness to clean up this sport.”

Real Sociedad were League runners-up in 2002-03, before dropping to lower mid-table and eventually being relegated in 2006-07.

“We are not going against the players, nor do we know if they were subjected to such practices. No names were mentioned, our investigation was directed against the physicians.

“I’m not against the institution, because I was President for two seasons, and a fan all my life. It is another thing to say employees practiced outside the law.”

Tags Astiazaran Badiola Doping Fuentes LFP