It was relatively big news this week when 3 doctors who worked with Lance Armstrong’s US Postal cycling team received lifetime bans from sport for providing athletes with EPO, blood transfusions and masking agents.
What seems to have gone largely unreported is that one of the dirty trio – Luis Garcia del Moral – was, according to Velonation.com – working as a medical advisor for FC Barcelona and Valencia. Another intriguing link between doping and the world of Spanish football.
Those in cycling know that del Moral is generally considered bad news. In January 2011 Garmin-Slipstream sacked their Directuer Sportif Matt White, after he sent rider Trent Lowe to see del Moral without the team’s knowledge. In an interview with journalist Paul Kimmage in May 2011, Floyd Landis claimed that he paid del Moral to work with him on the logistics of blood tranfusions for the 2005 Tour de France.
As far as I can see, FC Barcelona haven’t made a statement on del Moral’s ban, which prohibits him from working in any sport which has signed up to the WADA code of conduct. It would be interesting to hear why they employed del Moral and what his specific role was within the team.
Del Moral is the third doctor with links to doping to have worked for, or been linked to, FC Barcelona. Pep Guardiola’s doctor Ramon Segura is currently (as far as I can see) still working as the club physician, Segura worked with both Guardiola and Frank de Boer when they tested positive for nandrolone during their playing careers.
In 2006 it was alleged by French newspaper Le Monde that the notorious Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, of Operacion Puerto fame, had been working with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Numerous footballers were said to have been named in Puerto but, six years on, none of those names have been released to the public, and none have been disciplined by the football authorities.