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RTL hit back at Boudjellal and link Toulon players to growth hormones

The drama continues in Toulon…

FRENCH BROADCASTER RTL has reiterated its claim that Toulon players are under suspicion of having been illegally supplied with products by pharmacists in the French town.

RTL’s latest statement on the matter suggests Toulon players are under suspicion of having been provided with growth hormones by the pharmacists in question.

ToulonÕs fans Toulon are three-time European champions. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

RTL reported this morning that a criminal investigation had been launched by the public prosector in Marseille following a suggestion that the pharmacists had been providing Toulon players with “substances related to doping,” including antibiotics and anabolic steroids.

The prosecutor subsequently confirmed that they had launched an investigation in the town of Toulon after a notification from AFDL, France’s anti-doping authority. However, they stated that “we are far from doping” and that their case instead related to “a non-compliance to the code of public health for the supply of drugs.”

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal unsurprisingly reacted to RTL’s report in an angry manner and accused the media of a smear campaign against the club and head coach Bernard Laporte, who is currently campaigning for the presidency of the FFR.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Boudjellal stated that Toulon’s players had nothing to be worried about.

We’ve undergone a number of anti-doping tests,” said Boudjellal. ”We had two players under investigation (in 2012), Steffon Armitage and Eifion Lewis-Roberts, and both were cleared.

“How can RTL publish this information on organised doping? It’s very serious. When you want to buy doping products, you don’t take your social security card and go to a pharmacy. It would be stupid to do so. The journalist didn’t do a thorough investigation.”

RTL have this evening issued a statement in response to Boudjellal’s words on the matter, reiterating the content of the report they published this morning and suggesting that growth hormones is one of the substances believed to be involved.

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Mourad Boudjellal Boudjellal is angry at RTL's claims. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“Despite this denial (by Boudjellal), Élisabeth Fleury, a journalist in RTL’s justice/police department, maintains this information,” reads the RTL statement.

“Since 27 May, on demand of the prosecutor, a judge specialising in the area of public health has examined this affair. This magistrate is responsible for investigating suspicions of doping.

“This affair began with a notification from the AFDL. Two pharmacies in Toulon were successively in question. The social security cards of several players at the club were seized, as well as a batch of signed blank prescriptions.

To believe the AFDL, the list of drugs that would have been fraudulently provided to the players is long. On it is found a muddle of anti-retrovirals, inhalers for asthma, antibiotics, but also growth hormones.

“The concerned violations, all specific to doping, appear to have been committed by an organised group. It is true that there must be caution. For the time being, the magistrate has not made any indictment.

“But despite what Mourad Boudjellal says, it is because of suspicions of doping that Rugby Club Toulon is in the crosshairs of justice.”

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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