LONDON: Former World Cup stars including Carlos Tevez, Gabriel Heinze and Juam Sebastian Veron have been named by hackers Fancy Bears as three footballers allowed to use banned medicines during the 2010 World Cup.

The trio were among 25 players given therapeutic use exemptions during the finals in South Africa.

The Russian group also claims 160 players failed drugs tests in 2015 including four of the failed tests were registered by UK Anti-Doping. Three players tested positive for cocaine and one for ecstasy.

Evidence is drawn from a set of documents, one from FIFA, on TUEs issued during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and concerned 12 selections and 25 players out of the competing 32 nations.

Top of the list is Argentina with five players named: strikers Tévez and Diego Milito, midfielder Veron, plus defenders Heinze and Walter Samuel.

Germany came second with four players named by Fancy Bears (Mario Gomez, Hans-Jorg Butt, Denis Aogo and Christian Träsch). Algeria, Chile, Ivory Cioast, Greece, New Zealand, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States were also concerned but none from eventual world champions Spain..

Tévez apparently benefited from a TUE to take betamethasone, a glucocorticoid with anti-inflammatory effects. Germany’s Gomez would have been allowed to use products containing salbutamol, a substance that can be administered to athletes to treat their asthma. Finally, the Algerian Ryad Boudebouz would have on his side treated with triamcinolone, a corticoid listed on the list of prohibited products.

Betamethasone does not feature directly on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list, but is banned depending on the strength of the dose used.

FIFA has condemned the publication of “information obtained illegally and which endanger the fight against doping. “

Fancy Bears also claimed that 160 footballers tested positive in 2015 and more than 200 in 2016.

Tevez, now 33, was playing for Manchester City during the World Cup in 2010 after his move to Manchester United the year before. Heinze, 39, was with French club Marseille, having previously spent three seasons at Old Trafford.

Ex-New Zealand, Blackburn and QPR defender Ryan Nelsen, who is listed as ‘Nelson’ on the published form, declared the use of prednisone, another corticosteroid.

There were no England players listed and there is no suggestion that any of these footballers have done anything wrong.

A TUE allows an athlete, for medical reasons, to take a prescribed substance or have treatment that is otherwise prohibited.

Athletes must contact their national governing body before applying for a TUE.

There are strict criteria for one to be granted:

  • The athlete would suffer significant health problems without taking the substance.
  • It would not be significantly performance-enhancing.
  • There is no reasonable therapeutic alternative to its use.
  • The need to use it is not due to prior use without a TUE.

UKAD says it has “a number of robust controls in place to make it as difficult as possible” for athletes to misuse the system.

Fancy Bears first hacked the Wada database last September and began revealing athletes’ confidential details and information regarding TUEs.

Sir Bradley Wiggins had to defend himself over scrutiny after the leak of his medical records.

The IAAF – athletics’ world governing body – said in April that it had been hacked by the group earlier this year.

Mo Farah, Helen Glover and Justin Rose were among the British athletes who had their medical files made public.