Spanish Liga - Real Sociedad president claims doping practices

Real Sociedad's players were subjected to doping practices, according to the club's former president.

Inaki Badiola was around when the Liga club apparently struck off two doctors, Eduardo Escobar and Antxon Gorrotxategi, in 2008 because they discovered payments in the prior six years for products which were classified as banned substances.

"In 2008, our board publicly denounced the doctors Eduardo Escobar and Antxon Gorrotxategi because in the six seasons before us (with Jose Luis Astiazaran as president between 2001-05, Miguel Fuentes between 2005-07 and Juan Larzabal between 2007-8) they gave payments for medicines or products which, at the time, were classified as doping," said Badiola.

"They acquired substances which were not authorised. In my years, 2008 and 2009, there were no strange medical practices. We did an audit of the previous six years."

Jose Luis Astiazaran, the Spanish Football League president, and a former president of the club between 2001 and 2005, has denied any knowledge of such doping claims.

In a long-ranging statement released by the Spanish League, he said: "During the period of my term as President of my term as President of Real Sociedad (2001-2005), I have never had knowledge or suspicion of illegal practices being conducted with the medical services, which always worked within the maximum ethics and professionalism. If I had, I would have acted with due diligence and forcefulness.

2. Real Sociedad, under my presidency, worked closely with the authorities responsible for doping control, and there was never any impact on the countless doping controls conducted.

3. When Mr Badiola became President of Real Sociedad (January-December 2008), three years after the end of my term (June 2005), he commissioned an external audit, which was used to promote different court proceedings against former directors of the company, among whom I was included and that the courts acquitted, with no civil or criminal consequence for me, so it is absolutely false and untimely, everything that has manifested today.

4. It is noteworthy that in September 2011, Mr Badiola was barred from holding public office for two years for representing outside interests and other considerations when taking Real Sociedad into administration.

5. Also, in relation to the insinuations made by Mr Badiola, whereby my role as President of the LFP has been used to cover up irregularities, I must that these are totally false and show a complete ignorance for the performance and independence of the LFP.

6. Under the declarations and misrepresentations made by Mr Badiola, I reserve the right to take all legal action appropriate to defend the right to honour.”

Badiola is in the dark about whether or not players were involved.

"We have not gone against the players and we do not know if all were subjected to such practices," he said.

"No names were mentioned - our investigation was directed against the physicians.

"I think in football doping may not be as necessary as, for example, in cycling.

"It's not necessary to succeed but with so much competition and so much money, the temptation to get the most out of an athlete is high.

"The system is poorly regulated, there is a failure and doping is way ahead, with doctors who can cover it up perfectly.

"There are urine tests which does not seek EPO, which denotes a neglect and an unwillingness to clean up this sport (football)."