Benitez: No doping problem in football

February 8, 2013
By Miguel Delaney

Rafa Benitez has said he does not believe football has a doping problem and thinks the sport is "improving every year" in that respect, despite it appearing to be implicated in the trial of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes.

Rafa Benitez
PA PhotosRafa Benitez: 'If they are doing controls, fantastic'

Fuentes, a Spanish doctor, is in court in Madrid seven years after police raided his offices and seized around 200 bags of blood as part of Operacion Puerto.

Although only cyclists have so far been named, Fuentes said he had also worked with tennis players and footballers.

But interim Chelsea manager Benitez feels doping tests prove that football does not have a major problem.

"I think it's not just in Spain - it's Australia, England, everywhere," he said. "So, in football, in sport, it's something that's improving every year. Again, I will say that I'm quite happy if they have controls and they do what they have to do.

"I think it's very simple to talk because doping is a big word but, at the end of the day, there are too many [everyday] things that you can do [that would be considered doping].

"For normal people, it would be nothing. For sport, that would be doping. I think it's not easy and, in a press conference, there are details you cannot explain here. If they are doing controls, fantastic, and if they have better controls, even better."

Doping is not the only scandal to have afflicted football in the past week. On Monday, Europol announced that a match-fixing investigation had uncovered 380 suspect games.

One of those was Liverpool's 1-0 win over Debrecen in 2009 during Benitez's time as Liverpool manager, with Debrecen confirming the match was under suspicion.

The Hungarian club's goalkeeper, Vukasin Poleksic, was subsequently questioned by UEFA, although the European governing body took no action.

Liverpool have said they have had no contact from Europol or any other body about the allegations surrounding the tie, and there is no suggestion there was any wrongdoing at the Anfield club.

"We were not involved in anything," Benitez said. "If they want to analyse 300 games, we will do it. We will be really pleased.

"I think that, if they're doing an investigation, it will be fantastic. If they find something, it's OK – if not, even better. But it's important to clarify things. I'm very happy with that."