Football Leaks cite Madrid-UEFA tension on anti-doping protocol
A UEFA report sent to Real Madrid in 2017 stated that testers “temporarily lost control of the proceedings” during testing and that Ronaldo "caused a lot of tension in the doping control station."
The latest Football Leaks revealed by Mediapart and Der Spiegel, which claim Sergio Ramos returned two abnormal anti-doping samples irregularities, also shed light on tension existing between Real Madrid and UEFA in relation to anti-doping protocol.
One incident involved Ramos, who, after the LaLiga game against Málaga in April this year, skipped protocol by taking a shower before providing a urine sample, despite a UEFA anti-doping officer prohibiting him from doing so.
Another involved ex-Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who was tested on February 1, 2017, by UEFA anti-doping officers who had travelled unannounced to Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground to carry out tests on 10 players. During the tests, the UEFA officials “temporarily lost control of the proceedings”, reports Der Spiegel, citing a report that was sent to Real Madrid two weeks later.
The report stated that Ronaldo “complained that he was always selected”, and “showed dissatisfaction when the UEFA officers tried to take a second blood extraction", something which “caused a lot of tension in the doping control station."
UEFA’s account of the incident in the report also claims that after the officers took blood tests from Ronaldo and Toni Kroos, Real Madrid medical staff appeared suddenly and proceeded to administer the tests on the eight remaining players. “Due to the situation of tension there was in the Doping Control station,” the UEFA testers “accepted it exceptionally”, read the report.
Der Spiegel suggests that these exceptional circumstances were not in line with UEFA’s rules and guidelines on unannounced tests, which obligate teams to “guarantee that the doping control officers are able to do their jobs independently and with no interference.”
Real Madrid response to UEFA
The Der Spiegel article also cites the response of the Madrid general director José Ángel Sánchez sent to UEFA in relation to the report. In his response, Sanchez claimed the testers lacked “professional capability, skill or expertise" and that Ronaldo had “respectfully complained” not because he felt he was always selected, but because the UEFA officer had failed to find a vein on two occasions when attempting to draw blood.
Although, as Der Spiegel points out, UEFA rules and guidelines say “doping control officers may insert a needle three times on the search for a vein.” Sanchez also claimed the tester had been "new for us and the players in his role and probably not very experienced in treating top players."
Following Sanchez’ response, UEFA did not take further action on the matter, on which, Der Spiegel says, UEFA, Real Madrid and Ronaldo refused to comment.