A startling article (in French) appeared today, in two Swiss papers: Le Matin, and its 'journal gratuite' (free), Le Matin Bleu.
The title of the article appearing on the web, is:
Roughly translated as: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the deadly disease that is decimating Italian Soccer ...
(known in France as la malodie de Charcot, and in the US as Lou Gehrig's disease)
A quick synopsis, points that former British football star Paul Gascoigne (who played during three or four years in Italy) may recently have been diagnosed with this still-uncurable disease. The details that accompany this article should raise levels of rational fear in Italians, if not across Europe, sooner than when results from ongoing investigative research become known.
Simply put: some 39 football players whose careers passed through Italy are already dead from ALS (FR: SLA). Writer Joëlle Charrey points to relevant concerns that factor into that rational fear:
- They all played within Italy within the last 40 years (Gascoigne was with Lazio in Rome from 1992 to 1995);
- Italian Judge Rafaele Guariniello, who is investigating the 'coincidence', considers that some 70 'suspect deaths' may be related to this mystery (with Cause of Death ranging from cancer, leukemia, SLA, and others).
"Football players die at a rate six times higher from SLA, than a normal sample would indicate. That cannot be a coincidence."
Author Charrey pointedly asks herself, if there is a relation to dopage?
With her own analysis, there is no corrolary found in the world of cycling. Thus she questions whether any particular 'speedball' specific to football/soccer, would be a cause, and then, spectacularly, proposes that maybe something (pesticide?) found only on the Italian playing surfaces may be causal in nature.
This article is probing, and WADAwatch can only sympathize, yet again, to the soul of the Athletes who give their very lives, in seeking a better life, in achieving their own great performances, and in satisfying the thirst of Fans and Sponsors alike.
They should NOT have to die, again and again, for messages to resound throughout the world of Sport.
If WADA has extra money for research, perhaps they would be able to incorporate this quest with their own, to find the accurate link from ALS/SLA to Italian Football players, and determine who or what acted to kill these Italian players: if related to doping, it would give them a stronger, saner 'arrow' to slay the Beast that is doping.
Athletes must also be very much aware of the risks they take; sometimes, however, they may be incontrovertedly innocent of wrongdoing.
The opinions expressed by WADAwatch are
strictly formed with the purpose of inciting WADA to adhere
to its Fundamental Rationale, achieve its goals and fulfil
the aspirations of its Signatories, in achieving the
highest possible level of objective, neutral
science in sport-doping control.
Watching, sometimes, with WADA...