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Barcelona Denies Doping Claims

5 mlBarcelona has denied allegations by a Spanish radio station that the club engaged in “doping practices.”

Cadena COPE claimed late Sunday that Barcelona rival Real Madrid has asked the Spanish football federation to take drug testing in the league “more seriously”, saying it doesn’t understand how “doctors with questionable reputations” can be associated with the Catalan club.  COPE, which also said Madrid considered the league’s drug testing to be “a joke”, did not name which doctors Madrid was referring to.

However, Spain’s sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky said Madrid had not made any such request as of Monday and Barcelona demanded “immediate rectification” from COPE.

“FC Barcelona wishes to publicly express its total indignation at these unfounded references which link the Club to doping practices and to condemn such attitudes,” the two-time defending Spanish champion said in a statement on Monday. “FC Barcelona wishes to let it be known that its legal department is studying possible legal action to defend the club’s honor, alongside that of its coaching staff, players and medical staff and is prepared to take such action to its final consequences.”

Madrid did not comment on the COPE report.

This is not the first time that COPE has accused a La Liga team of “doping practices.” Valencia threatened COPE with legal action after it claimed Operation Puerto doctor Eufemiano Fuentes worked with the club when it won league titles in 2002 and 2004.

“Valencia has never worked with, been associated with or sought direct or indirect counsel with Mr. Eufemiano Fuentes,” the club said on its website.

Fuentes was the doctor at the heart of the Operation Puerto case, which implicated over 50 cyclists following raids in May 2006 that netted steroids and blood doping equipment. In December he was implicated in Operation Galgo, an investigation into doping in Spanish athletics.

In separate cases during 2008 and 2009, courts in Madrid and Barcelona previously found French newspaper Le Monde guilty of defamation for linking both clubs to Fuentes.

Creative Commons License photo credit: alvi2047