Dope doctor denies implicating Spain

Madrid: A doctor accused of being part of a major athletics doping scandal has flatly denied a report that he implicated Spain's world champion football squad.

Eufemiano Fuentes, a medical doctor, was one of six people charged December 12 with trafficking offences in an athletics doping network after a police investigation known as Operation Galgo, or greyhound.

Leading sports daily La Marca ran a report on Monday quoting a young man who claimed he had briefly shared a cell with Fuentes while he awaited questioning in the affair.

According to the paper, the man - identified only as David - told reporters of Fuentes: "He told us that if he spoke we would not have the European Championships or the World Cup.

On Friday, sports daily Marca published a letter from Fuentes to Spanish football federation president Angel Maria Villar on its front page categorically denying the claims.

"I never made those comments. I am just one of more than 40 million Spaniards who felt pride, admiration and gratitude for the achievements of our Reds, which will surely be repeated," the doctor said.

Spain swept to a thrilling 1-0 World Cup victory over the Netherlands on July 11. It was the first football World Cup victory for Spain, the winners of the 2008 European Championships.

The newspaper report led Spain coach Vicente del Bosque to defend football as 'absolutely clean'.

"Football is absolutely clean and if it was not I would be deeply upset, but I do not want to speak much more about this because there is nothing to justify it," he said on Tuesday.

In more than 40 years in football, del Bosque said he had never seen or suspected anyone of using doping products.

"I think it is impossible or nearly impossible for doping to exist in the world of football and I say that from the heart."

In the police operation against doping in athletics, 14 people were initially detained including former world 3,000m steeplechase champion Marta Dominguez.

Six of those detained have been charged with public health offences and trafficking in illegal substances.

They included Cesar Perez, Dominguez's coach; athlete Alberto Garcia; former cyclist Alberto Leon; fitness trainer Manuel Pascua Piqueras; agent Jose Alonso Valero; and Fuentes.

Fuentes is also accused of being involved in another cycling-related doping network uncovered by police in May 2006.

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