Juve doping trial sentence (1 Viewer)

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Nicole

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Sep 16, 2004
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UPDATE 1-Soccer-Juventus club doctor found guilty in doping case.
By Gianni Montani
14:37
26 November 2004
Reuters News


TURIN, Italy, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Juventus doctor Riccardo Agricola was found guilty of sporting fraud and given a 22-month prison sentence on Friday after a trial investigating doping at Italy's most successful soccer club.

Club chief executive Antonio Giraudo was found not guilty. Agricola was also ordered to pay a 2,000 euro ($2,600) fine.

Defence lawyer Paolo Trofino told reporters the judge had found Agricola guilty of administering the banned blood-booster EPO.

"He was condemned for what was the weak point of the prosecution's charges, the administration of EPO," said Trofino.

"It is a sentence that will be difficult to get through appeal," he said, confirming the defence intended to appeal.

The trial looked at Juve's medical practices between 1994 and 1998, a period when they won three Italian titles and also the 1996 European Cup.

It is unlikely that Agricola will have to serve time in prison because, in Italy, first offences are often suspended.

"We are very satisfied about Giraudo but there is a little bitterness for Agricola," Trofino said.

Turin public prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello began investigating allegations against 27-times Italian champions Juventus in 1998.

"This is what I expected," Guariniello said after the verdict. "It is only the first step."

EPO is a synthetic hormone that stimulates the body's production of red blood cells, increasing oxygen transport and endurance. It has been widely used in cycling.

France's Zinedine Zidane, three times World Player of the Year, former Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli, now a television presenter, and former European Footballer of the Year Roberto Baggio were among those who appeared during the Turin trial which began in September 2002.

The investigation was prompted by comments made in a 1998 magazine interview by current Lecce coach Zdenek Zeman that Italian football needed to "get out of the pharmacy". In the interview Zeman pointed the finger at Juventus.

© 2004 Reuters Limited
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