Cyprus Mail

Footballers’ association insist doping took place

The footballers’ association (Pasp) said on Wednesday the public was being misinformed over players who developed heart problems after they had been given banned substances, as it appeared the case was headed for closure without any prosecutions.

The case concerns two players from first division club Alki, Panayiotis Frangeskou, 27, and Panayiotis Loizides, 23, who asked police in November last year to investigate whether recently discovered identical heart problems that forced them to quit the game were a result of intravenous injections containing unknown substances administered to them by the club officials during the previous season.

On Wednesday, Alki spokesman Christos Jiambos said there was nothing improper, citing the legal rulings of the Legal Service.

“We were certain, it just confirmed what we have been saying,” he told Super Sport FM. “We feel vindicated because we knew that (chairman) Andy Loppas’ organisation is honest beyond doubt.”

Jiambos suggested the side was being persecuted because it was small.

Pasp responded by providing documentation backing the alleged offences.

It said the two players had been administered substances intravenously by unauthorised individuals in unauthorised venues – changing rooms.

Pasp said Alki continued to mislead public opinion “taking advantage of predetermined decisions”.

“Intravenous administration of substances in the changing rooms is clearly illegal,” Pasp said, citing announcements of the medical and nurse associations.

It also published the view of the state lab which said that importing the substance, Actovegin, a performance enhancing drug, is illegal.

“Unfortunately, the latter are not conclusions and findings the police have arrived at,” Pasp said.

“The case has not closed for Pasp since it was not only the criminal part that concerns us as an association but also the protection of our members,” the statement said. “We think tragic mistakes and omissions took place and the fact that the result of the findings was known to some before it was even completed is especially disconcerting and should concern all law-abiding citizens of this state.”

The substances are understood to have been administered since the start of the 2017/18 season. Some of the players under the care of the four football clubs last season have left Cyprus to continue their careers elsewhere.

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