|There is no evidence that Fabrice Muamba is a doper and|
unless evidence suggests otherwise, it would be wrong
to claim he is one. Why is the same not true of cyclists?
(image credit: Struay CC BY-SA 3.0)
If Fabrice Muamba had been a professional cyclist rather than a soccer player, the first whispered mentions of EPO would have come within seconds of the 23-year-old's heart attack. Just like they did when Frederiek Nolf, Bruno Neves and Marc Demeyer died; along with just about every other young cyclist to have suffered a heart attack, even when no evidence of doping was ever found.
There is no suggestion that Muamba doped and unless evidence should appear, it would be wrong to suggest that he did. It should be wrong to suggest the same of any young athlete who rides a bike, too. The difference is, cycling has - admittedly against its own will, at first - done more to eradicate doping than any other sport, thereby exposing the problem and associating itself with drugs in the public eye.
It's not known if doping is widespread in soccer and to date only one British player, Abel Xavier, has ever been banned for performance-enhancing drugs - however, many players have been caught taking recreational drugs with cocaine an apparent favourite; which rather suggests that footballers are as happy to put questionable chemicals into their bodies as cyclists once were.
It's often said that doping in cycling changed from the witch-doctory of Choppy Warburton to the science of Eufemiano Fuentes as a result of the development into a big-bucks televised sport with extra-sportifs pouring in vast sums and rider salaries sometimes reaching several million dollars per season. At its top levels, soccer is bigger bucks than cycling ever was - we have seen many young men, in many cases with no other discernible talent, become very wealthy indeed. It is, therefore, ludicrous to dismiss the suggestion that there is doping in football. The same is true of all other competitive sports, just as it is in business and anywhere else that chemicals might give an advantage in competition, just as there are also soccer players and cyclists who reach the top of their game through sheer hard work and athletic excellence.
However, the day will come when other sports too will be laid bare; and it'll be seen that cycling is no different to them in this respect - it was merely the first to be forced to clear up its act.
Get well soon, Fabrice.