Former La Liga Real Sociedad President Inaki Badiola told Spanish news website AS that, before his regime took charge, "the club's players had been subjected to doping practices," according to Rik Sharma of the London DAILY MAIL. Badiola said that the board fired two doctors, Eduardo Escobar and Antxon Gorrotxategi, in '08 because they "discovered payments in the prior six years for products which were classified as banned substances." Badiola added that the club "did not investigate any specific players involved" and had been concerned with the medical staff. Badiola: "We have not gone against the players and we do not know if all were subjected to such practices. No names were mentioned -- our investigation was directed against the physicians" (DAILY MAIL, 2/4). Spanish Professional Football League President (LFP) and Real Sociedad President from '01-05 José Luis Astiazaran published a note on the LFP's website denying the "false accusations" and "assuring that there were never suspicions of doping at Real Sociedad." The note had six bullet points with the main one reading: "During the period of my presidency at Real Sociedad, I never knew of or suspected illegal practices in relation to the medical services, which always worked professionally and ethically. If I had suspected or known anything, I would have acted accordingly" (AS, 2/4).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The controversial "triple punishment," where a player gives away a penalty, is sent off and automatically suspended, "has been left off the agenda" for the next meeting of football's rule-making body, according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. The Int'l Football Association Board will, however, "discuss proposed changes to the drop-ball and offside rules," which FIFA hopes "will make referees' decisions more clear-cut and less open to interpretation." IFAB "will also review the additional linesmen" who have been used by UEFA but shunned by FIFA, when it meets in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 2. The so-called triple punishment "is invoked when a defender or goalkeeper denies an opponent a clear-scoring opportunity in the penalty area." In addition to conceding a penalty, he "is automatically sent off and misses at least the next game." Critics complain that "such decisions can end matches as a contest or completely change the course and that a penalty would suffice in cases where the foul is not violent" (REUTERS, 2/4).
The Enforcement Directorate "has slapped a penalty notice" of about Rs 100 crore ($18.8M) against Indian Premier League team Rajasthan Royals for allegedly violating foreign exchange laws in its business operations, according to the PTI. Sources said that the agency, which issued the penalty notice after two years of investigations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, "has sent out three separate notices to the IPL franchise totaling" to Rs 98.5 crore ($18.5M), along with other similar notices earlier. The ED has been investigating financial and foreign exchange irregularities against all the IPL franchises for almost two years, "and this is the first big order against any team." The penalty comes just one day after auctions concluded in Chennai "for the sixth edition of the glamorous cricket extravaganza" (PTI, 2/4). The club said it "intends to launch a full appeal" against the ED (PTI, 2/4).