In the latest episode of the PED saga, Argentina's football powerhouse team River Plate has been embroiled in a doping scandal.
The club announced its players, Camilo Mayada and Lucas Martinez Quarta, tested positive for Hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic, during the Copa Libertadores. CONMEBOL, the South American Football Confederation, notified River Plate that the diuretic was found on samples of both players.
The South American soccer federation announced that at least three players from River Plate tested positive (21-year-old starlet Sebastián Driussi was also named by CONMEBOL) though the club officially cited only two players. Argentine newspaper La Nación went on to state that as many as seven players could have tested positive.
The anti-doping test on Argentinian defender Martinez Quarta was conducted after the 1-1 draw of River Plate against Ecuador outfit Emelec. On May 18, Uruguay international midfielder Mayada failed a doping test after a 3-2 win over Peruvian side Melgar. The 20-year-old Mayada has played 20 league games last season and scored a single goal, while Martinez-Quarta, the 21-year-old midfielder tipped to break into the Argentina team, played 19 made 19 appearances and also scored once.
In a statement, the Argentine sports club said it is working on understanding the situation considering the situation of Camilo Mayada and the case of Lucas Martinez Quarta. The club has asked for the B samples to be tested and also started its own investigation as they believe both cases are a result of contaminated sports supplements. In the statement, River Plate said it (in view of these two cases) reinforces with vehemence the assumption of a contamination regarding some of the products usually used as supplements.
Donato Villani, the vice president of CONMEBOL's medical commission, remarked he was surprised by the positive findings. Villani remarked it is obvious that there must have been a contamination with a diuretic with a supplement that they are using and also remarked the diuretic has been prohibited for some time. Villani said it is surprising that this has happened at River Plate.
Marcelo Gallardo, coach of the River Plate football club, remarked the incriminating results were erroneous. Marcelo Gallardo told a press conference that he wants to reassure the fan, the supporter, the River member, and the public in general. Gallardo also commented that he had full confidence in the integrity of Lucas Martinez Quarta and Camilo Mayada. The River Plate coach added the club is taking the measures necessary to amass evidence and try to explain it and also commented that this has surprised all of us. Gallardo also said we will try to have all the information possible to clear up these cases and also remarked defending the players’ integrity was more important than any sporting result though he conceded that the provisional suspension of Quarta and Mayada is a problem given their importance to the team.
River Plate is likely to make its case before the board of South America’s CONMEBOL soccer federation that organizes the Copa Libertadores. Club physician Pedro Hansing said medical staff at the club does not keep on hand the diuretics the players are accused of taking.
River Plate’s next scheduled Copa Libertadores match is set for July 4, the first leg of a knockout stage clash with Paraguayan club Guarani.
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