KEIR RADNEDGE in BELO HORIZONTE: Costa Rica’s angry protests over extra dope tests on some of their players threatened to backfire on the eve of their concluding Group D tie here against England tomorrow.
Ticos’ coach Jorge Luis had exploded in fury because an additional five of his players were marched off for dope tests after their 1-0 win over Italy in Recife.
But Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer, said today that Spanish and Portuguese players had also been subjected to supplementary testing and that they had seen no reason to complain. Dvorak added: “If we do not do this we are not fulfilling our duties and then questions would be asked.”
Full support for Dvorak and his medical team came from Michel D’Hooghe, long-standing FIFA executive member who chairs the medical commission.
D’Hooghe said: “We don’t have to excuse ourselves for doing our job. Professor Dvorak informed the team doctor of Costa Rica about what we do but don’t ask us to excuse ourselves for making a good doping control.”
Dvorak explained the context of additional checks on players involved in the Champions League Final and who had not thus been tested in the run-up to the finals.
He said: “When the Spanish team lost [against Chile] I was in Maracana for this match and in the Spanish team there were those players who participated in the Champions League so we tested, as well as the two as standard, an additional five players from Spain – also the Portuguese players who were in the Champions League Final including Cristiano Ronaldo.
“We explained to the team managers and physicians what we were doing but, of course, it has to be done unannounced.
“It’s not the most pleasant work but, in general, all the teams are absolutely co-operative including the Spanish team. It’s not easy to lose and then have seven players taken for doping controls but they didn’t have any complaints.”
Ticos’ coach Pinto returned to theme in Belo Horizonte, virtually at the same time as Dvorak was speaking in Rio.
Pinto said: “We feel uncomfortable. It was not done tactfully. Public opinion ended up thinking that FIFA feared something. Fine to do anti-doping controls but don’t give the idea that there is something amiss.
“Were they just thinking we ran too fast? We are very well prepared. I’d like to see Brazil subjected to the same thing.”
Outgoing World Cup-holders Spain would appear to be of comparative status.