Argentina soccer: Drug tests not needed in 1993
Argentina's soccer federation says it was not required to have drug testing for a 1993 World Cup playoff against Australia.
Former national coach Diego Maradona said last week in a TV interview that Argentine players were given ''speedy coffee'' to perform better, and that FIFA Vice President Julio Grondona did away with doping controls for the games.
Tuesday's statement by the Argentine Football Association was its first in writing since Maradona's remarks. The statement - titled ''The honor of everyone is saved'' - did not address the comment about stimulants or mention Maradona.
The federation said doping tests at the time were required only for the World Cup itself. It said all Argentines involved followed the rules ''to the letter of the law.''
Maradona and Grondona have been feuding since last year's World Cup, when Grondona declined to renew Maradona's coaching contract. Grondona hired Maradona despite his lack of coaching experience.
Grondona acknowledged last week there were no doping controls, partly to protect some players.
''A small personal controversy has been generated in recent days, when an ex-player believed that with his inexact words and bad intentions he could damage - or attempt to damage - the dramatic qualification against Australia,'' he said.
Grondona said last week there was an agreement with Australia to prevent drug testing. However, Ian Holmes, who was the Australia federation chief in 1993, has said there was no such agreement.
Argentina played to a 1-1 tie in the first match in Sydney, then won 1-0 in Buenos Aires to advance to the tournament.
At the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Maradona was suspended for testing positive for stimulants after a first-round game against Nigeria. FIFA subsequently suspended him for 15 months.
Grondona is in Zurich for Wednesday's FIFA presidential election, which has been overshadowed by bribery allegations against two executive committee members - Jack Warner and Mohamed bin Hammam.
The 79-year-old Grondona has been an executive committee member since 1988 and is listed as a senior vice president. He is the only one of eight FIFA vice presidents to carry that title. Grondona is also the chairman of FIFA's finance committee, of which Warner and bin Hamman are members.