Europe news

Deschamps to be questioned on doping

April 10, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

France coach Didier Deschamps has been summoned to appear before a French Senate committee to answer questions about doping in football.

Didier Deschamps v Spain
APDidier Deschamps was asked about his time at Juventus

Deschamps will be questioned under oath by the committee on April 24 as part of a senatorial enquiry into doping in France, L'Equipe reported on Wednesday.

The paper states the main line of questioning will focus on the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winner's knowledge of doping practices carried out at one of his former clubs, Juventus, where he played between 1994 and 1999.

Blood taken from the Bianconeri midfielder during his time in Turin was examined by reputed Italian specialist Professor Giuseppe d'Onofrio, who suggested that the Frenchman's samples showed anomalies, although he stopped short of claiming Deschamps had been the subject of doping.

The Juve club doctor at the time, Riccardo Agricola, was sentenced to a year and ten months for 'sporting fraud and the administration of medicines dangerous to the health, including EPO' after a trial in November 2004. Agricola was acquitted on appeal a year later, and no player was ever investigated.

The Senate enquiry, which started last month and is due to continue until mid-July, will hear from a number of witnesses before issuing a report that will form the basis of a legislative reform to be drawn up by Valerie Fourneyron, France's Sports Minister, next autumn.

In mid-March, the testimony of Marie-George Buffet, Minister for Sport during the 1998 World Cup which France hosted, revealed that she had faced "all sorts of pressure" after an unannounced drugs test was carried out on then coach Aime Jacquet's France squad.

"All the media came down on me," Buffet told the committee. "I was accused of not allowing the French team to prepare in the best conditions. I was condemned by public opinion and I gave in."