No Viagra for Brazilian football clubs

SAO PAULO - Brazilian football clubs Palmeiras and Gremio deny they are thinking of using Viagra to combat oxygen depletion during high-altitude Copa Libertadores matches.

SAO PAULO - Brazilian football clubs Palmeiras and Gremio deny they are thinking of using Viagra to combat oxygen depletion during high-altitude Copa Libertadores matches.

The issue emerged this week when Brazilian reporters asked a Gremio trainer, Alarico Endres, about the potential use of the erectile dysfunction medication in the South American championship.

"We're going to analyse everything that could benefit the players in [high] altitude," Endres responded.

But Gremio physician Marcio Bolzoni said Endres was misinterpreted.

"Gremio would never use professional athletes to experiment with a drug," Bolzoni said. "If it is proven it enhances an athlete's performance its use will be immediately considered as doping."

Palmeiras doctor Claudio Pavanelli told the GloboEsporte website: "Viagra may be a potent vascular dilator, but it is no use pumping more blood to the muscle if it does not have the capacity to receive it.

"It would be like equipping an old car with a bigger gas tank but keeping the same engine."

The World Anti-Doping Agency was studying whether Viagra should be banned from sports for its potential use as a performance-enhancing drug. - Sapa-AP

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