Maradona teammates deny consciously taking drugs
Buenos Aires: Former Argentina teammates of Diego Maradona confirm his claims that there were no doping controls before World Cup playoffs with Australia in 1993, but said they had no knowledge of receiving performance-enhancing drugs.
Former Australia captain Paul Wade said in publish comments today that Argentina was under so much pressure to qualify for the 1994 finals that he would not be surprised if they had resorted to taking performance-enhancing drugs.
He added he was "absolutely gutted" after hearing of Maradona`s comments.
Maradona said on Argentine television on Monday that the players were given an unspecified stimulant before the two-legged playoff to decide which team would qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the U.S.
"What happened is that to play against Australia we were given a speedy coffee. They put something in the coffee andthat`s why we ran more," Maradona told a news channel.
Maradona said Argentine Football Association President Julio Grondona knew about the doping. He said Argentina faced doping controls before every qualifier until the playoffs with Australia. "That`s the cheat and Grondona knew about it," Maradona said.
Grondona has made no comment.
Argentina drew the first match in Sydney 1-1 and won the return 1-0 in Buenos Aires to secure a berth in the 1994 tournament.
Maradona`s teammates agreed there were no drug tests before the matches but deny consciously taking any illegal substances.