The Netherlands’ shocking 5-1 blowout win over Spain on Friday made headlines all over the world. But on Saturday, FIFA officials discovered something that should jeopardize the team’s future in the 2014 World Cup: that several members of the team, each of whom were part of the starting eleven that beat Spain, have tested positive for doping. And in an even bigger scandal, FIFA is refusing to do anything about it.
On Saturday and Sunday, FIFA officials administered random drug tests to all of the participants in the 2014 World Cup, and during those tests, it was revealed that six players from the Netherlands and one player from Belgium have tested positive.
“These seven players, whom we will not identify, have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. It is a shame, a real shame,” says Dr. Giorgio Bertolucci, the FIFA official in charge of drug testing. “We have privately issued fines to each of the players, and will monitor them closely to ensure they do not cheat in the future. The clubs have also been fined, and three fitness staff, two from Netherlands and one from Belgium, have been expelled from these games.”
When asked whether the players themselves would be sent home, Bertolucci shook his head. “No, no. None of the players will be penalized beyond the fines. We have spoken with them and again, they will be watched closely for the duration of these games. But Netherlands will continue in the cup. It would not be fair to the people of Holland for their entire team to be punished for the actions of a handful of bad seeds.”
But why those players specifically will be allowed to continue, and who those players are, remains unclear. FIFA officials have released statements to Brazilian news media repeating what Bertolucci said, but have thus far refused to name the players, explain what performance enhancers specifically have been found in their systems, or elaborate on what sort of fine the players were issued.
Sunday evening, Spain Head Coach Vincente del Bosque responded to the story with outrage, while discussing the scandal in English with ESPN. “This is disgusting. I am disgusted by this. There is no other word I could use right now. These players, Española, they played their hearts out, and for what? To get beaten by a team using steroids? I know life is not always fair, but this? FIFA should be ashamed of this. You have to wonder who paid who, who bribed who. But we will soldier on and get past this insult, one goal at a time.”