The Barcelona doping scandal

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Torrente

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The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by Torrente on Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:21 pm

It seems as if the foreign press has been hesitant to cover this story, but it's been all over the Spanish press for the last several weeks. I figured I should give a little summary here for those that have missed out.

It all started about 5-6 weeks ago when Cadena Cope (Spanish radio station) reported that Real Madrid directives had asked the LFP and UEFA to conduct stronger anti-doping checks in Spain. Cope claimed that this was triggered by Real Madrid's suspicion that the Barcelona players had been doping in recent years, which would explain their "unusual" physical condition.

The story goes that Florentino Perez called Rosel shortly afterwards to explain that Real Madrid had nothing to do with it, and Barcelona has begun legal action against Cadena Cope for their assertions.

Whereas Barcelona directives remained quiet about Real Madrid in the beginning, Rosel has recently come out with comments hinting that Real Madrid is behind the whole story, while Laporta also spoke out today saying that Barcelona should sue Real Madrid as they were clearly behind the whole thing.

The man who pisses cologne (super Pep) also alluded to Real Madrid being guilty when he said in a press conference that "Florentino Perez and Cadena Cope should get their stories straight".

Last week there was also a surprise drug test by UEFA officials after a Barcelona training session in which they tested 10 players. Pique twitted afterwards something like "what a coincidence, we got drug tested by UEFA today"

Obviously, this has been an incredibly sensitive topic in Spain. Recently, in Defensa Central (a pro-Real Madrid website), the newly appointed director Siro Lopez quit because after Abidal's tumor was announced, somebody posted an article in the website stating facts about the effect that anabolic steroids have on the liver. Lopez went on the popular football talk show Punto Pelota (where he is a frequent guest) to announce that he was quitting Defensa Central while in tears, and called the person who posted the article an "hijo de puta".

Is there any real evidence that Barcelona players are doping? Well, some of the following may be evidence even though admittedly it is no more than circumstantial:

-Pep Guardiola was already caught doping while playing in Brescia himself for using nandrolone. There was a legal dispute in which he was absolved of the charges by Brescia, but there has been a general controversy about the way he was absolved, with some anti-doping Italian officials claiming that the investigation should have continued.

-Guardiola's same doctor from Brescia while he was caught doping is now working in Barcelona as one of the head doctors.

-Barcelona doctors are infamous for extensively using "vitamine shakes" for the players. It has been part of the Barcelona culture for quite some time, and there are rumors that such shakes contain illegal substances that are hard to detect.

-Formerly injury-prone players such as Xavi, Messi, and Iniesta rarely get injured anymore despite playing nearly 90 minutes of every single Barcelona match. Pep is known for barely rotating his squad (which is generally very thin), and the amouunt of injuries the team gets is notoriously small considering how much they play and former physical fragility of various players.

-Barcelona players appear to be almost as fresh at the end of every match as they are in the beginning. It is always said that this is because how much posession they always have, but it is nevertheless suspicious that players that aren't known for being particularly that athletic manage to run as much as they do and with as much intensity in every game, especially since they barely rotate and are involved in all competitions.

-Barcelona always travel the same day to every away game, which is said to be triggered to reduce the chances that there is a surprise drug test by UEFA officials.

-In Spain, drug tests are done much less frequently than in other leagues. Teams always get to know in advance when they will be tested, and blood tests are rarely done. The number of players tested every season is also significantly low.

-The infamous Doctor Fuentes has been heavily linked with being involved with Barcelona in the past. A few months ago there was also an allegation by a fellow prisoner (Fuentes was in prison at the time obviously) that Fuentes had confided in him that "if people actually knew the truth, the World Cup would be taken from Spain immediately"

-In the last 18 months, Barcelona has "conveniently" suspended two training sessions before a UEFA drug test, one which led to a fine to the club by UEFA officials.



As a side note, I wrote this off the top of my head with as much information as I could remember. I couldn't be bothered to go and check the sources of everything I've found, but as somebody who follows various Spanish mediums very closely I can assure you the information is accurate. The part about the "evidence" regarding Barcelona's doping is of course speculation more than anything, but those are the allegations that I could remember most clearly from the sources I've read. I know each point can very much be taken apart "Saints style", but I figured it would be good to jot them down to let posters here now what the chatter is all about.

Anyway, I'm interested to see what posters here think.




Hem fet un..

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by Hem fet un.. on Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:50 pm

Well needless to say I think it is just a bit more Madrizz vomit attempting to destabilise Barcelona. We have pretty much seen every trick in the book coming out of the capital, whether it is Xavi and Puyol refusing to play for the national team and not doing their best; whether it is the referee conspiracy that always takes points away from poor old Madrizzz and handing penalties to Barcelona; whether it is to extremely loud trumpeting every time there is the slightest problem with a contract renewal; whether it is the special treatment of Messi at christmas etc etc...

You conveniently forgot that Valencia was also mentioned..

As for the lack of injuries and "freshness" then I think Pep is a control freak that won't let the players do the slightest thing that may upset their physical balance. Also, remember that most teams we play end up chasing the ball for most of the game, whereas (bar Alves) our players move the ball instead of running around like headless chickens.
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Super Progress

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by Super Progress on Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:08 pm

I can't believe a top club like Barca would drug several of their players. The risk and shame would simply be too high if they got caught. Of course I don't know thight doping regulations are in Spain but can't imagine Barcelona hasn't been tested a couple of times in the past couple of seasons. Wouldn't then have showed up?

This sounds like the sneaky tricks Perez would pull. Even though I would love to see Barca go down in flames(sportingwise) I hope this story isn't true at all.

El Padrino <Ale>
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Jaime

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by Jaime on Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:26 pm

I certainly did not want to be the first to post this. Wink

In any case, it is difficult to make the accusation that menosqueunclub are doping. But certainly there are a lot of curiosities and there are aspects of this that could at least tempt people to 'connect the dots'. Similarly, it is difficult to accuse Madrid of starting it all. Cadena Cope is madridista through and through but that is different than Florentino actually starting the rumour.

For example, the doctor that Torrente referred to is Ramon Segura. Of course he was SuperPep's doctor in Italy amidst those doping accusations. In addition, he was the same doctor treating Frank DeBoer in '01 or '02 when he was caught doping (nandrolone again). Clearly this guy has a track record of utilizing 'experimental' medicine. Is he involved with illegal methods now? Hard to say.

There does seem to be something with the injury record of some players. Xavi never really got injured that much. Neither Puyol. But Messi and Iniesta both suffered from almost chronic injuries prior to 2008 which have not been a problem since Pep became the manager. Particularly miraculous was Iniesta's recovery before the 2009 CL final. Almost nobody thought he could have made it in time for that match. Maybe it was just the Gladiator video, maybe it was something else. Now I will say Iniesta passed the 'surprise' test the other day. Messi was conveniently not at training that day (he was also 'sick' in February on the day that doping tests were administered). Whistle

Now, I have read that Barcelona may be employing plasma rich injections as treatments for their players. I don't know that much about it really or if there is anything wrong with it. But as I understand it, it is not a standard medical practice. Rafa Nadal and Tiger Woods, I believe, have been said to use this...but they've also been suspected of doping.




Last edited by Jaime on Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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fcb

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by fcb on Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:15 am

I haven't made comments about this topic so far because I thought it was a nonsense story, a non-issue exaggerated by lazy journalism. Unfortunately, it will continue for a while because of the international break.

It's disappointing that anyone sane could even give credence to this story, even Madrid fans. We know that Madrid are desperate, but I cannot believe they can drop so low.

Mourinho most probably has nothing to do with it. If you believe the journalist Alcala from Cadena Cope, it's come from some other "high ranking director" at Madrid. Whether Perez knew about this guy's statements or not, I'm not sure.

I hope Rosell doesn't keep pushing this either. Best to let it die, and let the team continue doing their talking on the pitch as they have always done in the past few years.

All I can say is, thanks to Madrid for yet *again* providing a new source of motivation for our players to keep winning. With this kind of stupid "black" tactics, you are making Pep's job much easier in keeping the team hungry and determined Ale



A few points in response to Jaime's post:

1. It's true that Barça doctors use blood transfusions from one part of a player's body, to the injured part, to speed up recovery. However, this is not considered doping, at least not in football.

2. The "vitamin shakes" being referred to, were something put in place way back even when Mourinho was at the club...

3. There's not necessarily some magic treatment being used. In Pep's first season there was plenty of coverage about his fantastic attention to detail for physical training, 100x better than Rijkaard.

I also remember reading about some new machine that he started using, which provides much more accurate testing of a player's muscle strength, and can give advance warning of potential injuries.

Players' diets were/are also controlled.

Abidal has also commented (and you can see it in his form on the pitch) how he tailed off badly under Rijkaard due to the lack of physical work, but improved significantly under Pep's regime.

And IIRC Iniesta was *not* fully fit for the CL final, he forced himself to play with muscle damage knowing it's the last game of the season anyway.



@Hem fet: don't forget the fixtures Biggrin
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bluenine

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by bluenine on Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:36 am

So far it sounds like creative journalism to me... until/unless someone actually tests positive, all this is just speculation... its like saying coz they are the best, they must be doping!
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Fade out

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by Fade out on Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:23 am

I'd normally not entertain fantasy allegations, but there's more than enough meat to chew on here (but could just as easy be discarded as sheer coincidence). For football's own sake, I hope none of this is true..
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Jaime

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by Jaime on Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:23 pm

fcb wrote:I haven't made comments about this topic so far because I thought it was a nonsense story, a non-issue exaggerated by lazy journalism. Unfortunately, it will continue for a while because of the international break.

It's disappointing that anyone sane could even give credence to this story, even Madrid fans. We know that Madrid are desperate, but I cannot believe they can drop so low.

Mourinho most probably has nothing to do with it. If you believe the journalist Alcala from Cadena Cope, it's come from some other "high ranking director" at Madrid. Whether Perez knew about this guy's statements or not, I'm not sure.

I hope Rosell doesn't keep pushing this either. Best to let it die, and let the team continue doing their talking on the pitch as they have always done in the past few years.

All I can say is, thanks to Madrid for yet *again* providing a new source of motivation for our players to keep winning. With this kind of stupid "black" tactics, you are making Pep's job much easier in keeping the team hungry and determined Ale



A few points in response to Jaime's post:

1. It's true that Barça doctors use blood transfusions from one part of a player's body, to the injured part, to speed up recovery. However, this is not considered doping, at least not in football.

2. The "vitamin shakes" being referred to, were something put in place way back even when Mourinho was at the club...

3. There's not necessarily some magic treatment being used. In Pep's first season there was plenty of coverage about his fantastic attention to detail for physical training, 100x better than Rijkaard.

I also remember reading about some new machine that he started using, which provides much more accurate testing of a player's muscle strength, and can give advance warning of potential injuries.

Players' diets were/are also controlled.

Abidal has also commented (and you can see it in his form on the pitch) how he tailed off badly under Rijkaard due to the lack of physical work, but improved significantly under Pep's regime.

And IIRC Iniesta was *not* fully fit for the CL final, he forced himself to play with muscle damage knowing it's the last game of the season anyway.



@Hem fet: don't forget the fixtures Biggrin

So you've been doping since the mid-90s! cheers
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Super Progress

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by Super Progress on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:33 pm

Jaime wrote:I certainly did not want to be the first to post this. Wink

In any case, it is difficult to make the accusation that menosqueunclub are doping. But certainly there are a lot of curiosities and there are aspects of this that could at least tempt people to 'connect the dots'. Similarly, it is difficult to accuse Madrid of starting it all. Cadena Cope is madridista through and through but that is different than Florentino actually starting the rumour.

For example, the doctor that Torrente referred to is Ramon Segura. Of course he was SuperPep's doctor in Italy amidst those doping accusations. In addition, he was the same doctor treating Frank DeBoer in '01 or '02 when he was caught doping (nandrolone again). Clearly this guy has a track record of utilizing 'experimental' medicine. Is he involved with illegal methods now? Hard to say.

There does seem to be something with the injury record of some players. Xavi never really got injured that much. Neither Puyol. But Messi and Iniesta both suffered from almost chronic injuries prior to 2008 which have not been a problem since Pep became the manager. Particularly miraculous was Iniesta's recovery before the 2009 CL final. Almost nobody thought he could have made it in time for that match. Maybe it was just the Gladiator video, maybe it was something else. Now I will say Iniesta passed the 'surprise' test the other day. Messi was conveniently not at training that day (he was also 'sick' in February on the day that doping tests were administered). Whistle

Now, I have read that Barcelona may be employing plasma rich injections as treatments for their players. I don't know that much about it really or if there is anything wrong with it. But as I understand it, it is not a standard medical practice. Rafa Nadal and Tiger Woods, I believe, have been said to use this...but they've also been suspected of doping.


lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol!

stinger

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by stinger on Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:08 pm

I remember a few days ago reading a headline with Cruyff saying "Real need to apologize to Barca", didn't read an article, as Cruyff doesn't have much interesting things to say these days, just want to know - was this related to the doping story? Or it was something else?
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fcb

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by fcb on Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:36 pm

Yes it was. And it was usual Cruyff drama.
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Ä

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by Ä on Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:25 am

Lance Amstrong now suggests that the Spanish courts ordered the blood bags of Fuentes to be destroyed

because

the top Spanish football clubs would have been exposed otherwise

and that could not have been allowed

http://www.sport1.de/de/radsport/artikel_741019.html

VERY LIKELY
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EMP

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Re: The Barcelona doping scandal

Post by EMP on Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:47 pm

And what about this then? Rossel has long had business links with kick-back and graft king Ricardo Teixeira.

Marketing games

Another brewing scandal concerns a friendly game between Brazil and Portugal in Brasília in November 2008. Associates of Mr Teixeira received millions from the event. Around the same time they appear to have signed contracts committing them to pay large sums to Mr Teixeira for purposes that remain obscure. Six months before the match Sandro Rosell, who is now the president of Barcelona Football Club, the European champions, became a director of Ailanto, a sports-marketing firm in Rio de Janeiro set up shortly beforehand.

Mr Rosell has been doing business with Mr Teixeira for years: he moved to Brazil as Nike's director of sports marketing in 1999 to manage the company's relationship with the CBF. A week before the Brasília match, the government of the Federal District signed a contract to pay Ailanto 9m reais ($4m at the time) for the marketing rights and for other loosely defined services, including arranging transport and accommodation for both teams' players. (The then governor of the Federal District, José Roberto Arruda, was later imprisoned and charged by the Federal Police over corruption relating to other matters.)

That deal is now being investigated for padding and corruption. The public prosecutor's office in Brasília says that receipted expenditure relating to the game was only around 1m reais—and that in any case the Football Federation of Brasília (FBF), an affiliate of the CBF, had paid. It also says that, although the Federal District government bought the rights to the game, the money from ticket sales went to the FBF. Brasília's police force has searched Ailanto's premises in Rio de Janeiro, seizing documents.

Alongside these deals run three others whose purposes are not immediately obvious. The Economist has copies of what appear to be the contracts for all three. One dated March 2009 commits Vanessa Precht, a Brazilian who formerly worked at Barcelona FC and who was Mr Rosell's partner in Ailanto, to leasing a farm in the state of Rio de Janeiro from Mr Teixeira for 10,000 reais a month for five years. Rede Record, a Brazilian television network, visited the farm in June and could find nobody who had heard of Ms Precht. Two Brazilian congressmen have called for an investigation to establish whether the deal was a way for Ms Precht to return to Mr Teixeira some of the money Ailanto earned from the Brazil-Portugal friendly.

The other two contracts were signed separately in July 2008 by Mr Teixeira and Mr Rosell with Cláudio Honigman, a financier who is a partner of Mr Rosell's in a different Brazilian sports-marketing company, Brasil 100% Marketing. Mr Honigman undertook to pay each man 22.5m reais to buy back options on 10% of the shares in Alpes Corretora, a São Paulo brokerage, which the contracts state he had previously sold to them. A spokesman for Alpes Corretora has told The Economist that Mr Honigman never had any interest in any shares in the company. Mr Rosell and Mr Teixeira declined to comment for this article. Mr Honigman's lawyer says that he has been unable to contact him. Ms Precht did not respond to our request for an interview.

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