Sunday 4 December 2016

Toulon president incredulous over doping allegations and accuses media of smear campaign

Published 08/09/2015 | 12:23

RC Toulon's French president Mourad Boudjellal
RC Toulon's French president Mourad Boudjellal

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has reacted angrily to accusations of organised doping at the club and believes there is a smear campaign against the three-time European champions.

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French broadcasters RTL broke a story this morning claiming that a number of pharmacies in Toulon have illegally been providing products to players at the rugby club.

According to the report, Toulon players were supplied with “substances related to doping,” including antibiotics and anabolic steroids, while French newspaper Midi Olympique reported the drugs in question were painkillers.

Boudjellal says the club has nothing to hide, pointing out that the Top 14 side stopped working with a pharmacist in 2006 because of links to doping.

At a press conference this afternoon, he protested the club's innocence and suggested that there was an agenda against his club.

"We've undergone a number of anti-doping tests," Boudjellal explained.

"We have had two players who were under investigation, who were Steffon Armitage and (Eifion) Lewis-Roberts (in 2012) and the two were cleared.

Read more: 'It's totally untrue' – Toulon owner refutes doping allegations as club to be investigated

Toulon skirted the salary ruling most prominently when billionaire owner Mourad Boudjellal ponied up to bolster Jonny Wilkinson's salary. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
Toulon skirted the salary ruling most prominently when billionaire owner Mourad Boudjellal ponied up to bolster Jonny Wilkinson's salary. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

"At the beginning of last season we had an anti-doping test of every single player of the RCT two days before the start of the season. And there was no doping and there is no doping.

"This is a case of fraud with regards to social security, using fake prescriptions. There are no players involved in the AFLD investigation and by the courts. The club has not been questioned and is not concerned.

"There is a pharmacist who had worked with us since 2006. When we heard about what he was doing, we stopped working with him. We have a doctor who for a number of years always unfortunately leaves two or three empty prescriptions in case of emergencies... and the details of the social security cards of the players.

Boudjellal believes that the reports this morning were incorrect and is unhappy that the story was published without the full facts.

"How can RTL publish information on organised doping? It's extremely serious. When you want to buy doping products, you don't take your social security card and go to a chemist, it would be stupid to do that. The journalist didn't do a proper investigation."

Boudjellal also added that there is "a desire to smear the RCT, and maybe a desire to smear someone, with that someone most likely former coach Bernard Laporte, who is currently campaigning to be the next president of the FFR.

"I think the campaign will be very difficult," added Boudjellal.

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