There has been a huge uproar in the Spanish media over the past week involving radio station COPE (the full title of which translates as People’s Radiowaves of Spain Network) and the top 3 teams in La Liga – Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia.
Juan Antonio Alcalá, a journalist at the station reported that some higher-ups at Real Madrid have suspicions of doping at Barcelona and Valencia, allegations which are unfounded but still hugely serious, as much so for Real.
Just the merest mention of drugs in relation to football brings great consequence, even more so at the top tier of the game as with the clubs involved in this situation. Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said that whoever is behind the story is ‘playing with fire.’
Thus far the journalist has not revealed his sources which adds a great deal of skepticism to the accusation. Yet he remains adamant that it has come from someone at executive level at Real Madrid. Barcelona are now to take legal action claiming libel against the station as the suggestions of drug could damage their reputation.
For the teams involved this is certainly a stressful and unwanted distraction from this season’s crunch time domestically and in the European competitions.
That this situation is unsavoury goes without saying. It is interesting to note, however, the media involvement in the allegations and how this reflects upon the Spanish football press as a whole.