Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of the Puerto and Galgo doping investigations, has joined the staff of the University of Las Palmas soccer team as head of medical services. Although currently under investigation after being implicated in the Galgo inquiry involving some of Spain’s best-known athletes, Fuentes will be responsible for the physical preparation of the players for the team that currently lies in second place in the third tier of Spanish soccer.
Primarily renowned for his links to cycling and athletics, Las Palmas-born Fuentes has worked with leading Spanish soccer clubs in the past, including Elche and UD Las Palmas, the university club’s better-known neighbour. Fuentes has also suggested in the past that he has had links with and offers from bigger clubs.
During the Puerto investigation in 2006 Fuentes stated that he worked with athletes from other sports besides cycling and athletics. However, their identities have never been revealed.
After being arrested during the ongoing Galgo investigation, Fuentes is reported to have told one of his cellmates: “If I start talking, there will be no World Cup, no European Championship title.” Fuentes subsequently denied that he had any link to Spain’s World Cup-winning soccer team.
In recent months Fuentes has returned to his initial field of interest by working as a gynecologist in Las Palmas. Soon after news of the Galgo investigation broke at the tail-end of last year, the University of Las Palmas soccer club released a statement expressing its support for Fuentes. The club’s director-general did not sign the statement and resigned a few days later, but without linking his decision to the club’s support for the controversial doctor.
Fuentes was presented by the club’s president, Carlos López, on Monday (March 7). It is reported that he is not receiving any salary in his new position, but is undertaking the role as an altruistic act.
Fans are split over Fuentes’s appointment. Many have expressed disappointment given Fuentes’ links to doping, while others have been more enthusiastic. One forum post stated: “Champions League here we come.” Another said: “I consider him a good signing because I’m sure that with his experience the team’s players are go to run like motorbikes.”
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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