The war against drugs in sport is never-ending and the stakes are higher than ever.
Unfortunately many of the participants are, too.
The idea that governing bodies in charge of the games people play are genuinely serious about exposing performance-enhanced cheats is something of a myth.
We have seen it in athletics, cycling and now horseracing.
Organisations love to boast their sport is fair and honourable as they back-slap sponsors, right up to the precise moment when their faces are rubbed in the unholy chemical mess.
Then a clean-up reluctantly begins.
But to avoid the impression their game was filthy all along, the miscreants are usually painted as evil rogues or sad aberrations.
Busted: Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was handed a suspended prison sentence Natural justice suggests we should be hounding these people out of sport like angry villagers with burning torches and pitchforks chasing Bela Lugosi.
But too many interested parties simply look the other way while they reach for a syringe full of platitudes.
Top competitors know the truth.
They confront it every day.
Just take a look at what two great British sports stars, Andy Murray and Paula Radcliffe, felt about the latest drugs scandal in Spain.
When police raided the clinic of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes to bust one of cycling’s many doping rings, the officers involved in Operation Puerto found more than 200 different bags of blood on his property.
It then transpired the stash was not just the preserve of a cluster of cheating cyclists.
Fuentes told a court that many of the frozen samples of plasma belonged to Spanish track and field athletes, tennis players, boxers and footballers.
He said he could even put a name to each bag of tainted corpuscles.
But the Spanish justice system didn t want to know.
Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria ordered that all the evidence from one of the biggest doping scandals ever uncovered should be destroyed.
Her verdict was the case was an investigation into cycling alone.
Any other discoveries would be beyond the court’s remit, compromising the privacy of other individuals involved.
At this point you might subscribe to the idea that the judge is a great defender of freedom and liberty.
Or you might think she could be acting at the behest of the Spanish government in an almighty cover-up because the evidence threatens to lay waste to the country’s football achievements, tennis triumphs and much more over the last decade.
US Open champion Murray made his anger known.
He raged it was beyond a joke and the biggest cover-up in sports history , adding, Why would a court order blood bags to be destroyed? Marathon world record-holder and anti-drugs campaigner Radcliffe also demanded answers.
She said: This makes me so mad.
Spanish government do something.
Do the right thing.
Does this judge understand what they have done? I feel like showing up on their doorstep.
Anger: Andy Murray reacted in rage at news the blood bags were to be destroyed I m proud Murray and Radcliffe have spoken out.
Not enough athletes do this.
We should never forget to be appalled by the systematic cheating that takes place before our eyes.
But rarely do we see potential evidence destroyed in public.
It’s usually a seedy secret.
The idea that it could happen now in the name of justice is a disgusting perversion of the meaning of the word.
In court, Fuentes was given a pathetic one-year suspended for endangering health , but the story goes on and, coincidentally, another revelation just 24 hours after the verdict raised further questions.
Over in Brazil the former Barcelona and Chelsea midfielder Deco failed a drugs test.
He tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide, a recognised masking agent and weight-loss drug which also reduces pressure on the capillaries and aids cardio performance.
When Fuentes’s premises were raided in 2006, Barcelona were winning the Champions League employing their revolutionary, non-stop passing game tactics with Deco in their side.
There is no suggestion he is implicated with Fuentes.
Let me make that clear.
But maybe we could check those blood bags just to make sure.
Want love, Jose? Look in a mirror Jose Mourinho says he wants to flee those nasty Spanish types and return to the bosom of English football where he is loved .
No doubt there is plenty of adoration for the self-styled Special One on these shores and he will add entertainment to the rough and tumble of the Premier League.
But no matter how much these people may profess their devotion to Mourinho, it is unlikely ever to match the all-encompassing love he has for himself.
London calling: Jose Mourinho looks set to return to Chelsea for a second stint QPR stuck on the grid Queens Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes looked understandably shell-shocked as his team dropped out of the Premier League with barely a whimper.
After watching his millions disappear down the relegation drain, he tried to rally supporters with a message on Twitter.
Sorry to all QPR fans, he said.
But the plan goes on, now more than ever.
We owe it to you.
And everyone instantly thought: You mean there was a plan? Fernandes added: It took three years to get Caterham right.
Crash:Tony Fernandes (right) watched as Queens Park Rangers were relegated to the Championship So the plan is for QPR to emulate the Caterham F1 team.
The same Caterham team who finished joint bottom of the constructors championship with no points in their first season (as Lotus Racing); collected no points in the second season, and currently sit in joint last position with no points after four races this year.
Not much of a plan, is it? I remember a previous Rangers chairman was also involved in F1.
But Flavio Briatore was accused of telling one of his F1 drivers to plough straight into a wall.
At least this QPR side crashed all by themselves.
Rodgers on track While Luis Suarez has a break, here are some significant numbers to chew upon concerning Liverpool before tomorrow’s Merseyside derby.
During their first seasons in charge, Kenny Dalglish, Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez all lost 14 league games.
To date, Brendan Rodgers has lost nine.
This Liverpool line-up has scored more league goals than any Anfield side during the past 20 years and there are still three games to go.
Work in progress: Brendan Rodgers has impressed at Liverpool so far this season Rodgers’s team have also collected 14 clean sheets, a total surpassed only by Manchester City with 15.
Statistics can be used in many ways and the most important number of all is their current league position of seventh.
But the signs are encouraging.
With more investment and added consistency, Liverpool should continue heading in the right direction.
All hail Bale My vote for Footballer of the Year went to Gareth Bale.
I wrestled with the Tottenham Hotspur player’s tendency to fall to the floor, possibly due to sudden movements of the Earth’s tectonic plates.
But I weighed this against his explosive contributions to the season and general demeanour and decided he was a worthy winner.
In my view, Bale’s individual performances put him narrowly ahead of Robin van Persie, while the South American arm-muncher on Merseyside ruled himself out.
I intend to be there to see Bale receive another deserved trophy at the ceremony on Thursday night.
He is a credit to the Premier League and I hope he remains here.
OUTRAGED CORNER No 1 OUTRAGED CORNER No 2 West Bromwich manager Steve Clarke was said to have slammed TV presenter Adrian Chiles for daring to suggest Peter Odemwingie might be a contender for t**t of the season at the club’s annual awards bash.
I m outraged, too.
That Clarke cannot find something more appropriate to be outraged about than a harmless joke concerning a player who slaughters his own club on Twitter and randomly turns up at other football grounds on transfer-deadline day.
Is anyone looking forward to the PFA Player of the Year dinner in 2014? Not after the so-called race storm surrounding Reginald D Hunter’s entirely predictable comedy routine.
The American’s stage act has always drawn upon the liberal use of the N-word and I mean liberal, in every sense.
But now the players union bash is likely to be the most antiseptic, po-faced, irony-free corporate borefest known to mankind.
Sorry, I mean personkind .
You ve got to be careful: it’s easy to offend people these days.
Some room-silencing deadpan answers to a series of questions on cycling from UKIP s local election candidate in East Chesterton, Cambridgeshire.
Q: What experience do you have of cycling in the Cambridgeshire area?
Q: Would you agree that creating very high-quality cycling routes to encourage new people to cycle offers by far the best cost-benefit ratio for transport improvements that facilitate growth of the City and surrounding areas?
A: You are asking for benefits paid for by other road users. I would prefer more car parks.
Q: Do you support our view that traffic policing, of all groups of road users (cyclists, drivers, etc), should become a greater police priority?
A: Cyclists are by far the most undisciplined road users. On several occasions, I have had to stop or dodge cyclists riding through red lights when crossing at pedestrian crossings.
More police attention to cyclists would be useful.
Q: Do you and your party support a new London-style bike plan for Cambridgeshire?
A: No. This proposal amounts to theft from the people who pay to use roads and the benefit given to those who don t.
Q: Do you support our proposal for The Chisholm Trail , a cycling and walking linear park that would run roughly along the railway?
A: Only if cyclists pay for it.
Q: Do you support the provision of a cycle bridge over the River Cam and related cycleways alongside or near the railway bridge?
A: Again, only if you don t expect everybody else to pay for it.
Q: What would you do to ensure the developer fixes these cycling signs before the County Council adopts this, to avoid taxpayers paying to deal with these problems in future years?
Q: Do you support our view that legal cycling should remain permitted, that the signs should read Cyclists give way to pedestrians and that conflict would be reduced by removing barriers to increase the amount of space here?
A: I don t use Green Dragon bridge, so am not able to make an informed comment. However, I am constantly subjected to verbal abuse from cyclist riding of the footbridge at Jesus Lock when I ask them to stop ignoring the please dismount signs.
Q: Do you have any other general cycling-related comments or points?
A: Why are there cycle tracks on Hill s road on both the road and footpath?
Road space is required for motorised vehicles who pay for it.
It shouldn t be wasted on people who don t.
Just for your information, I walk to most places in Cambridge, but you should bear in mind that if everybody cycled, there would be no roads to ride on.
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