Barca to sue station for doping slur


MADRID, April 15 — Barcelona are set to sue Spanish radio station Cadena Cope for six million euros after it reported claims by a Real Madrid official that the Catalan football giants were involved in doping players.

Cope quoted an unidentified Real Madrid "representative" last month as saying the club had asked the Spanish football federation to take drug testing more seriously.

According to the radio station’s March 13 report, Real Madrid could not understand how doctors with "questionable reputations" could work for Barcelona.

It also cast doubt on doctors working for Valencia.

Barcelona said Thursday they will lodge a suit Friday for defamation with a public court in Barcelona.

"FC Barcelona has today presented to the civil courts in Barcelona a lawsuit against Radio Popular S.A. (COPE) for an attack on its honour deriving from the comments made by the journalist Juan Antonio Alcala in the programme El Partido de las 12, on March 13th this year, which linked sportsmen and medical staff from the Club with doping practices," said a statement by Barcelona.

"FC Barcelona considers these comments to have damaged its image, prestige and reputation and that they constitute a clear attack on a constitutional right which this lawsuit will attempt to redress.

"In line with the technical valuations used to quantify this type of injury, the club is claiming 6,190,090 euros in damages."

The radio report said Real Madrid could not understand how Eufemiano Fuentes, a doctor who was one of six people charged in December with trafficking offences in an athletics doping probe dubbed Operation Galgo, could have worked for "a first division club, specifically Valencia, curiously when it won two championships".

Valencia won the Spanish league in 2002 and 2004.

Cadena Cope also said Real "could not understand how other doctors of a doubtful reputation can work for FC Barcelona."

Barcelona and Valencia angrily denied the allegations and threatened legal action against the radio station, which apologised for questioning the clubs’ honesty without actually retracting the report.

Real president Florentino Perez reportedly personally telephoned his counterpart at Barcelona, Sandro Rosell, to deny he was the source of the radio station’s story.