Spanish state prosecutors are considering demanding the re-opening of an investigation into the liver transplant received by former Barcelona footballer Éric Abidal, according to a report on the radion station Cadena SER on Thursday.
Doubts raised over legality of Abidal's 2012 liver transplant
Abidal, now the Catalan club's technical secretary, was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2011 and the following year received a liver transplant at the Clínic Hospital in Barcelona, with the Frenchman's cousin, Gerard, named as his donor.
However, El Confidencial this week published details of taped telephone conversations in which Sandro Rosell, who was Barça president at the time of the transplant, allegedly indicated that an illegally purchased organ was used.
In May, a Barcelona court shelved an investigation into the donation after failing in its attempts to obtain information from the French authorities.
SER says prosecutors have doubts about the report issued by the Clínic Hospital following the transplant. Of particular concern is that the donor's passport details were omitted, leading to suspicions that "the liver was donated by another person".
On Wednesday, El País reported that the Clínic Hospital and Spain's National Transplant Organisation have opened an internal inquiry.
Con la publicación de esta imagen quiero pedir respeto hacia mi primo Gerard y defender su honorabilidad.— Eric Abidal (@EAbidalOfficial) 5 July 2018
Denuncio públicamente la actitud de algunos medios que siguen poniendo en duda la legalidad de una intervención que me salvó la vida¡Basta ya! pic.twitter.com/d8Nui1bJWQ
Abidal speaks of "annoyance and sadness" at claims
Meanwhile, Abidal himself took to social media to express his "annoyance and sadness" at the allegations, writing: "My cousin Gerard donated his liver to save my life and for this I am truly grateful to him. Existing procedures and protocols were followed at all times".
The 38-year-old also posted a photograph of himself and Gerard at the Clínic Hospital, accompanied by a caption in which he asked for "respect" for his cousin and declared his desire to "defend his honour".
"I'd like to publicly denounce the attitude of some of the media, who continue to throw doubt on the legality of a procedure that saved my life," he said. "Enough!"