Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson 'must take blame and stop looking for a scapegoat', insists trainer Chris Xuereb
Published 17/07/2013 | 18:35
The trainer at the centre of athletics' biggest drugs scandal for years has denied supplying Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson with any banned substances, claiming the sprinters have to take "responsibility for their doping instead of looking around for a scapegoat".
Christopher Xuereb finally broke his silence more than 48 hours after Powell and Simpson admitted testing positive for a prohibited stimulant and sought to lay the blame on the Canadian, who began working with them shortly before they provided adverse findings at last month's Jamaican National Championships.
All three are under investigation by Italian police over allegations they breached the country's anti-doping laws following a raid on their hotel in the north-eastern town of Lignano Sabbiadoro, a seizure of products said to have been sanctioned by both athletes without Xuereb's knowledge.
Responding to e-mail requests for comment overnight, Xuereb wrote: "It is time the athletes took responsibility for their doping instead of looking around for a scapegoat, whether that person is their therapist, bartender or anyone else.
"Athletes keep using the same story, which is to blame the scapegoat for their own wrongdoing.”
The 500-word e-mail statement further quoted Xuereb as saying he "did not provide any banned or illegal substances to Asafa Powell or Sherone Simpson”.
Police were last night still analysing the substances confiscated during the raid but Xuereb’s statement claimed officers had already found them to be legal.
"I do not know what these athletes were taking in addition to what I suggested to them," it added.
"Although I suggested certain vitamins to these athletes, it is ultimately the athlete’s responsibility to accept or reject my suggestion.
"Unfortunately, it appears that these athletes were not solely following my suggestions or WADA’s [the World Anti-Doping Agency] guidelines.
"I am confident, and I have also spoken to researchers and the police, that I have done nothing wrong."
Udine prosecutors believe Powell, Simpson and Xuereb may have breached Article 9 of Italian doping laws while at a Jamaican training camp in the country.
Former 100 metres world record holder Powell and Olympic relay silver medallist Simpson deny knowingly taking performance-enhancing substances.
Their agent Paul Doyle on Tuesday night admitted he and his athletes failed to make absolutely certain they knew what the products the sprinters had taken were.
"In hindsight, we should’ve been given a list, made sure we got a list," Doyle said.
"I said to (Xuereb) in a text message that all supplements have to be cleared by me first. He never cleared them with me.
"He did send them in an invoice that had the names of supplements in there that he had purchased. But that was it. I didn't have the ingredient list.
"Just looked at it this morning, 19 different supplements (Powell) was given."
Doyle revealed last night that Powell and Simpson left Lignano but declined to reveal where they went, while a hotel receptionist said on Monday that Xuereb had checked out.
"We’re not trying to throw Chris under the bus and blame him for anything," said Doyle, who welcomed the police investigation.
"We’re not saying he did anything deliberate, but it’s in those supplements."
Powell and Simpson were among five Jamaican athletes to test positive at last month’s national championships, while American Tyson Gay failed a doping test in May for an as yet unidentified substance.
Gay - who also insisted he did not knowingly cheat - and Powell would have been on the start list for next weekend’s Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium.
UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner was confident last night the current scandal would not tarnish what had been billed as a celebration to mark a year since the start of London 2012.
"This is quite rightly unavoidable as a topic of discussion," he said.
"But I believe that the 60,000-odd people in the Olympic Stadium for each three days of those Anniversary Games are going to see some amazing athletics and love it, and wallow in the memories of last year and celebrate the great feats they see in front of them."