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Government 'denies' soccer, tennis involvement

7/4/2006 - Tennis Soccer

MADRID, Spain -- The Spanish government says no soccer or
tennis players are involved in the doping investigation that
already has forced several top cyclists to withdraw from the Tour
de France.

The Higher Sports Council, which oversees sports in Spain, said
Tuesday it "categorically denies involvement by soccer players or
tennis players, either Spanish or foreign" in the Civil Guard
investigation.

The council called a French newspaper report "lamentable" and
groundless for saying soccer players and a tennis player were
involved.

The French newspaper Journal du Dimanche ran a story Sunday
loosely linking Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal to the
investigation and said athletes from other sports could be
involved. Nadal, the French Open champion who has advanced to the
Wimbledon quarterfinals, derided the report.

"I've never taken anything in my life, and I never will. ...
People who write lies about other people are bad people," Nadal
said Monday.

The scandal broke in May after police in Spain led arrests and
raids, seizing drugs and frozen blood thought to have been prepared
for performance-enhancing transfusions.

Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich and other riders were excluded from the
Tour de France after their names were among dozens on a list
compiled by Spanish investigators. Basso and Ullrich say they are
innocent.