Wednesday 24 May 2017

French TV channel to be sued over Rafael Nadal doping sketch

THE Spanish Tennis Federation plans to sue French television channel Canal+ over a sketch which appeared to imply world No 2 Rafael Nadal and his fellow Spanish athletes are drug cheats.

The sketch from the show Les Guignols, or The Puppets, shows a life-size likeness of Nadal filling up his car's gas tank from his own bladder before being pulled over by traffic police for speeding.

Spanish athletes. They do not win by chance," is flashed on the screen surrounded by the logo of the RFET and several other Spanish federations, including football and cycling.

In a statement published on Wednesday, the RFET said it planned to sue Canal+ France for "publishing a video in which, as well as containing unacceptable and damaging insinuations, the federation's emblem and anagram were used". The federation would be demanding that the video is withdrawn, the logo is not used again and that Canal+ pays damages for its unauthorised use, the statement added.

Like all tennis players, Nadal is regularly tested in and out of competition and has a completely clean record.

"On this occasion intolerable limits have been exceeded and we at the RFET cannot ignore such discredit and slander towards our athletes," federation president Jose Luis Escanuela said.

Canal+ broadcast the sketch after Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador was banned for two years on Monday for failing a doping test during the 2010 Tour de France.

It was the latest French attack on Spanish athletes following comments from former French Open tennis champion Yannick Noah in November in which he accused them of using "magic potions".

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