Cypriot professional footballers claim doping being practiced

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-28 06:17:05|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NICOSIA, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Cypriot professional footballers have claimed that doping of athletes is being practiced and accused authorities of being too quick to close a complaint made last year.

The president of the Footballers Association, Spyros Neophytides, commenting on a documentary beamed by Franco-German television station Arte earlier this week, told state television on Saturday that the documentary provided proof that doping was practiced.

The documentary examined the case of three Cypriot young footballers who last November claimed that they had developed identical heart problems that forced them to quit football, as a result of intravenous injections containing unknown substances.

The club denied the allegation.

Police investigated the case and said that no wrongdoing had been established, as medical certificates showed that the heart conditions of the three footballers were not identical.

However, the Footballers Association said in a statement that the Franco-German station's documentary showed the truth.

"It presents an unflattering image of Cyprus since Arte's producers looked into whether illegal medical practices were taking place in Cypriot football," it said.

It added that among other things, the documentary also shows a photo depicting the use of an intravenous substance in a Cyprus football changing room which is a violation of anti-doping regulations.

The documentary followed one of the footballers, Panayiotis Frangeskou, 27, who lodged a complaint as he walked around athletic installations, narrating how he was given the injections in the referee's changing rooms.

He says the three footballers were injected with the substances days before each match and that when his medical problem was revealed, the club kicked him out "like a dog".

Neophytides told state television that the documentary reveals that not everything is as peachy as some would like to present them to be.

He said he was disappointed because the Footballers Association found no support by anyone in its efforts to prove doping and the investigation of the reported case faltered.

"Some at the police know very well, how they handled the case and how they closed it," he added.

He said the footballers association was trying to warn its members on how to protect themselves after coming to the conclusion that there was no support from anyone.

"At the end of the day, any footballer or citizen who steps forward to give any information remains exposed. The documentary sheds light to what happened and that things were not what had been presented," Neophytides said.

Neophytides told Arte television that authorities in Cyprus did not investigate the issue adequately and eventually sent out empty files.

He also said that he could understand why people in the football world were afraid to talk, as those who step forward and become whistleblowers end up without a career.