Sat, Mar 19, 2011 - Page 18 News List

LFP: Barcelona players undergo ‘routine’ UEFA doping tests

AFP, MADRID

Ten Barcelona players, including Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez, underwent “routine” UEFA doping tests on Thursday, just days after a Spanish radio station alleged the club had links to disreputable doctors.

“UEFA doctors paid a surprise visit to Barca’s training session this morning and carried out routine drug tests on 10 players,” the club said in a statement on its Web site. “This is the second time Barca have received one of UEFA’s routine visits this season, after three last year.”

The defending Spanish champions’ players last underwent UEFA doping controls less than a month ago.

The latest tests come after Cadena Cope radio on Sunday said Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid had asked the Spanish soccer federation to take drug testing in the league “more seriously,” saying it does not understand how “doctors with questionable reputations” can work for the Catalan club.

The Catholic radio station, which quoted an unidentified “representative” of Real Madrid, did not name the doctors.

It also alleged that Eufemiano Fuentes, a doctor who was one of six people charged in December with trafficking offenses in an athletics doping scandal, had worked for Valencia when they won league titles in 2002 and 2004.

Both Barcelona and Valencia have threatened to take legal action against the radio station.

“We have an anti-doping control today by UEFA, what a coincidence,” Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, who was one of the 10 players who were tested, said on his Twitter page.

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