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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
With the court case to continue for at least another couple of years after Juventus are set to appeal the court's decision against their club doctor Agricola,it may be wise to open a thread in this section.Although,Juventus are the club involved in the doping scandal,it also blackens the whole image of Italian football and that is why a thread here is appropriate.There are bound to be many up-dates on this story in the months ahead,not just in the Italian press,also from the world media.

The doping case centres around seasons 94-98 in which Juventus won 3 scudetti,a Champions League Final against Ajax and an Intercontinental Cup.

Juventus guilty of drug abuse
From James Eve in Rome and John Goodbody

November 27, 2004


ITALIAN football faced one of the biggest scandals in its scarred history yesterday, after a Turin judge found the Juventus doctor, Riccardo Agricola, guilty of administering banned drugs to some of the world’s leading players during the 1990s. Agricola received a 22-month prison sentence but Antonio Giraudo, the director of the Turin club, who was charged with the same offence, was acquitted.

Agricola’s conviction was the result of a six-year investigation by Raffaele Guariniello, the public prosecutor, who accused the 27-times Italian champions of systematically doping players between 1994 and 1998, one of the most successful periods in their history.



November 27, 2004 The Times

Juventus guilty of drug abuse
From James Eve in Rome and John Goodbody



ITALIAN football faced one of the biggest scandals in its scarred history yesterday, after a Turin judge found the Juventus doctor, Riccardo Agricola, guilty of administering banned drugs to some of the world’s leading players during the 1990s. Agricola received a 22-month prison sentence but Antonio Giraudo, the director of the Turin club, who was charged with the same offence, was acquitted.

Agricola’s conviction was the result of a six-year investigation by Raffaele Guariniello, the public prosecutor, who accused the 27-times Italian champions of systematically doping players between 1994 and 1998, one of the most successful periods in their history.



During those years Juventus won three Serie A titles as well as the 1996 Champions League. Clubs that finished runners-up in those competitions could go to court claiming to be the true winners.

Juventus tried to limit the damage yesterday. Paolo Trofino, their lawyer, said that Agricola “was condemned for what was the weak point of the prosecution’s charges, the administration of erythropoietin (EPO). The sentence will be difficult to get through appeal.”

Many of the club’s present and former players had appeared as witnesses, including Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero and Gianluca Vialli. All denied taking drugs, though the verdict will leave a stain on their achievements with the club.

Luigi Chiappero, a defence lawyer, said: “This trial shows that there is a rejection of the use of pharmaceutical products in sport, that people have to play without extra help. We’ll see if this theory is accepted. But it goes against the reality of today.”

Guariniello’s investigation was prompted by comments made in 1998 by Zdenek Zeman, the coach of Lecce, who told L’Espresso magazine that Italian football had to “get out of the pharmacy” and pointed the finger at Juventus.

A search of the Turin club’s training complex revealed 281 different kinds of drugs, including five prohibited anti-inflammatories. During the trial, which started in January 2002, Gianmartino Benzi, professor of pharmacology at Pavia University, said: “Stocks resembled the quantity you would find in a small hospital.”

Last week, Vialli claimed that the trial was a consequence of lax Italian libel laws. He said: “In contrast with England, here anyone can say what they want, with complete immunity. I don’t think anyone believes him (Zeman), but a shadow remains.”

The shadow has grown longer because international football and particularly players in Italy have become contaminated by drugs in recent years.

In 1998, the Acqua Acetosa laboratory, accredited by the International Olympic Committee, admitted that documents relating to dope tests in football had disappeared and the laboratory was closed after police discovered papers stuffed into air-conditioning vents.

At about the same time, it was found that many of the Parma squad had abnormally high haematocrit levels, which meant they had more oxygen-carrying red blood cells, so aiding their stamina. This could have been the result of the players undergoing altitude training in July but could have been caused by taking EPO.

The laboratory reopened in September 2000. That season, nine players in the Italian League were banned for drug offences, including Edgar Davids, of Juventus, for failing a test for nandrolone, the anabolic steroid. Two other Dutch players, Jaap Stam, then with Lazio, and Frank de Boer, then at Barcelona, were also given short bans for nandrolone use.

EPO THE FACTS


EPO (erythropoietin) is a hormone that boosts the red cell blood count, so aiding stamina


It has been widely used in sports such as cycling, long-distance running and cross-country skiing


The International Olympic Committee validated tests just before the 2000 Olympics


Arsène Wenger said last month that some players had arrived at Arsenal from foreign clubs with abnormally high red blood cell counts

Any up-dates,please post here.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Gianfranco Zola's thoughts

Zola slams doping cheats Wednesday 1 December, 2004

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Gianfranco Zola has given his views on the Juventus doping verdict and dubbed the players involved as “cheats.”


“It is disappointing to have competed against players who used illegal substances,” he told the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’. “It was an incredible act of cheating and cowardice.”


Zola’s trophy cabinet is rather bare after his Parma side lost out to Juventus in the race for the Scudetto, Coppa Italia and Italian Supercup during the years incriminated by the trial.


Last week the Turin magistrates found Juve chief medic Dr Riccardo Agricola guilty of administering substances, including EPO, in a systematic manner.


“I was really hit hard by that verdict,” added Zola, “because I worked so hard for years to be at the top of my physical fitness. I and my teammates made many sacrifices to be better, so to compete against those who were just taking drugs is disappointing. It was an incredibly underhand way of playing football.”


There is some confusion over whether or not Juventus could now be stripped of the trophies they won during the 1990’s. Initial examination of the legal documents suggested they were safe because too much time had passed to re-open the files, but a new statement has come through.


“If I was the head of the anti-doping commission then I would immediately re-open the Juventus file,” stated the former leader of this division Giacomo Aiello.


“Everyone is waiting for the magistrate to reveal the reasoning behind his decision. Then and only then can a disciplinary action begin, but we could potentially look at suing Juve for indirect responsibility.”


The club itself was cleared of all wrongdoing, as director Antonio Giraudo was released without charge from the trial.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Did Juve's success make dopes out of all of us?

Ian Ridley
Sunday December 5, 2004
The Observer

A few weeks ago, Arsène Wenger mentioned that some players who had joined Arsenal may have been on some kind of drugs - perhaps without their knowledge - at their previous club.
Last week the club doctor of Juventus was convicted by an Italian court of supplying players with performance-enhancing substances, including EPO, between 1994 and 1998. It was a golden era for Juve when they won three Serie A titles and reached three Champions League finals, winning one.

It was during this period they beat Manchester United in a semi-final, Sir Alex Ferguson observing that he had been surprised as he looked at the two teams in the tunnel at how much bigger and stronger Juventus looked, man for man. Now we know what he was talking about.

The court heard evidence from leading haematologist Giuseppe d'Onofrio who said he was 'practically certain' the players - who include Alessandro Del Piero and Didier Deschamps - had taken EPO in small doses. The players have denied knowing they were having illegal substances administered to them. The club are appealing, and the case could take five years. Uefa say they are monitoring the situation.

You hope it will not be allowed simply to go away. Uefa should be considering stripping Juve of the European Cup of 1996, as they did Marseille's in 1993 following the bribery conviction of Bernard Tapie.

There is a lesson in it, too, for every footballer. It now falls on them to take responsibility, as athletes must do, for what goes into their bodies and not just take what club doctors give them.
 

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Zeman sparks more controversy Saturday 4 December, 2004

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Zdenek Zeman sparked off the Juventus doping trial with his comments and is set to create further controversy with a new attack.

“Of course there are problems in football. That’s clear for everyone to see,” said the Lecce Coach. “It is up to the Federation to find a solution, although they’d have to be people willing to solve the problems instead of making them worse.”

That was a veiled dig at FIGC President Franco Carraro and League chief Adriano Galliani, who are both waiting for the doping trial to conclude. Galliani, who works closely with Milan President and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was also on the end of more criticism.

“Seeing as the main problem for football clubs nowadays is a lack of money, I think it is useful to have a League President who is close to the Government and can ask for a few handouts.”

Zeman’s interview in 1998 sparked off an investigation into Juve’s medical staff, ending in Dr Riccardo Agricola’s guilty verdict for ‘sporting fraud’ and administering EPO. The Turin giants will appeal and the magistrate is yet to reveal the reasoning behind the decision.

The guilty verdict caused shockwaves throughout Serie A and Gianfranco Zola said this week that he felt “cheated at having to compete against players who were on drugs.” The Cagliari captain later insisted “I am not criticising Juventus per se.”

Zeman was asked about these statements and said, “I don’t like to comment on what other people say. It does seem to be a contradiction.”

One of the former Roma and Lazio tactician’s main targets in 1998 was Gianluca Vialli and the two fought their own legal battle for slander. This week Vialli said Zeman’s words were not to be taken seriously as, “This is the man who once said the Mafia did good things for Sicily.”

The Lecce Coach responded with his trademark dry wit. “I am amazed that Vialli’s memory has returned, seeing as he forgot many things he was asked about in the witness stand. As for the Mafia comment, I lived in Palermo and every time I went abroad all I heard was ‘Mafia this’ and ‘Mafia that’. I didn’t feel like a Mafia man and therefore said something to provoke these stereotypes.”

channel4
 

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So does that make Juve a bunch op dopes?or dopey people? :howler:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Justice of the pieces
Conviction of Juventus doctor in doping case leaves team off hook
Posted: Tuesday December 7, 2004 5:44PM; Updated: Tuesday December 7, 2004 5:44PM


Sports Illustrated


Zinedine Zidane testified that he needed to take vitamins intravenously to get through 70 games a year .
A few columns ago, I wrote about Adrian Mutu's positive cocaine test and how recreational drug use should not be punished in the same way as the taking of performance-enhancing drugs. Reactions were mixed: some supportive shouts and some who accused me of being the devil incarnate.

The recent verdict in Juventus' trial for "sporting fraud" neatly highlights the difference between the two and how bizarre it is that Mutu -- who did not cheat -- received a hefty sentence, whereas the Italian club, whose actions were much more disturbing, is likely to get off unscathed.

The court in Turin which heard Juve's case sentenced club doctor Riccardo Agricola to 22 months in prison, while his boss, Juventus chief executive Antonio Giraudo, was acquitted. That's the first and most obvious inconsistency. Unless you believe that the team doctor was acting on his own, paying for the 281 different drugs found at Juve's training out of his own pocket and doing it all unbeknownst to club officials, it's hard to justify the verdict. Indeed, it does seem as if he was the fall guy in this case.

The case related to events at Juventus between 1994 and 1998, a period during which the club won three Italian titles, a Champions' League crown, an Italian Cup and a European SuperCup. According to testimony, Juve's doctors regularly prescribed pharmaceutical cocktails to their players which, as one witness said, meant that "either the players were always sick or they took drugs without justification ... to improve performance."

This is where things get sticky. The vast majority of the drugs in question were not on anyone's list of banned substances. They were, however, prescription drugs which were meant to treat illnesses or pathologies, not substances to be taken by healthy athletes. And here we get into an issue of medical ethics. Many athletes have taken similar substances to treat legitimate illnesses or conditions. Where do you draw the line? Should it be down to a doctor's conscience whether these drugs ought to be prescribed? Or should athletes be denied access to certain substances unless some kind of independent arbitrator can confirm that they are indeed necessary?

And how do you determine if treatment is necessary? One of the drugs liberally administered at Juventus during those years is normally used to treat depression. It would be common sense to assume that depression wasn't a team-wide problem. But how can anyone be sure? Should clubs subject their players to psychiatric evaluations in order to access the anti-psychotic drugs?

The point here is that it seems pretty obvious that Juventus violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the law. The only evidence that some sporting regulations may have been broken as well lies in the fact that internal drug tests revealed that some players had unnaturally high cell readings, suggesting that they may have been given the now notorious banned drug erythropoietin (EPO). But no EPO was found on Juve's premises and not a single Juventus player failed a drug test between 1994 and 1998.

Deciding what should happen next is far from easy. Louis van Gaal, whose Ajax side lost the '96 Champions' League final to Juve, insists that the bianconeri should be stripped of the trophy. Gianfranco Zola, whose Parma side finished runners-up to Juve in '94-95 is equally angry.

"It's a disgrace," he said. "At Parma we all worked so hard and we did it legally. When you compete and lose to players who use drugs to cheat, well, it hurts. A lot."

Juventus, most likely, won't be stripped of any trophies. Nor will '98 World Cup winner France, two of whose keys players, Zinedine Zidane and Didier Deschamps were at Juve at the time. The verdict could yet be overturned on appeal and, in any case, it's likely to exceed the statute of limitations.

But the damage that Juventus has done to the game and to its own image won't be going away any time soon, even if, on appeal, the court finds that no laws were broken. The shadow of suspicion will tarnish that era in Juve's otherwise glorious history for a long time to come.
 
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