Doc enters fray in doping saga
ALGIERS - A former doctor to Algeria's football team has backed players who contend that doping may have led to serious handicaps among their babies, in an interview with Friday's daily El Watan.
Eight former Algerian internationals have handicapped children, former defender Mohamed Chaib told AFP this week. His three girls were all born with muscular dystrophy. He said the players "just want the truth".
Dr Rachid Hanifi told El Watan that the coach of the time, the Russian Gennadi Rogov, had introduced a Russian doctor who did not allow access to the players' medical files.
"I think they were doing evaluation tests that they did not want to divulge," Hanifi said.
"I sent a report to the director-general of the national centre for sports medicine and the ministry (of sport). I was told that Rogov should be allowed to work with his doctor. So I resigned.
"The link (between drugs and the handicaps among children) is not evident, but it is possible," he added, expressing concern at the number of Algerian international players in the 1980s who have had sick offspring.
Now that the issue has become public, several players from the Algerian teams in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup contests have decided to come forward, demanding an inquiry to find out whether there is indeed a link between their handicapped children and the drugs and tonics they took when they were top footballers.
"We decided to go public about this affair when we discovered that no fewer than eight ex-internationals have children with handicaps," former defender Chaib told AFP.
"We have serious doubts over the effects of medication that we were given during training camps."
"We were all lab rats," an unidentified former athlete told El Watan, adding that a former athletics coach had given the ministry of sports a report on "the scale of doping" in the country in the 1970s.
There was no follow-up, but the coach was penalised.