Pyongyang blames doping on medicineNorth Korea is blaming football’s worst doping scandal in almost two decades on using steroid-laced medicine from musk deer glands to treat injuries from a lightning strike at a training camp for the Women’s World Cup.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Saturday that after two North Korean players were caught during the tournament, three more positive results came in when the world football federation took the unprecedented decision to test all members of the squad.
“This is a shock,’’ Blatter said at a news conference. “We are confronted with a very, very bad case of doping and it hurts.’’
The last doping case at a major event came at the men’s 1994 World Cup in the United States, when Diego Maradona was kicked out after testing positive for using a cocktail of banned substances.
“The North Korean officials said they didn’t use it to improve performance. They said they had a serious lightning accident with several players injured and they gave it as therapy,’’ said Michel D’Hooghe, head of FIFA’s medical committee.
A North Korean delegation told Blatter and D’Hooghe early Saturday that the steroids were accidentally taken with traditional Chinese medicine based on musk deer glands. After North Korea lost its opener against the United States, team officials first claimed that lightning had struck several players on June 8 during a training camp at home.
The case will be taken up by FIFA’s disciplinary committee. Players face a ban of up to two years for such infractions.
Defenders Song Jong-sun and Jong Pok-sim tested positive for steroids after North Korea’s first two group games and were suspended for the last match. The team was eliminated in the first round after another loss to Sweden and a draw with Colombia.
The names of the three other players would be made public only at a later stage, FIFA said.
The gland in question comes from musk deer living in a large swath of Asia from Siberia to North Korea. The gland is usually cut open to extract a liquid that is then used for medical purposes.
“There is a whole industry linked to that to produce these medical products,’’ D’Hooghe said.
Doping officials have been concerned about such naturally occurring substances in recent years.
한글 관련 기사 [연합]
여자 월드컵서 北선수 5명 금지약물 양성반응
북한 선수들 '한약 잘못 먹었다'
국제축구연맹(FIFA) 여자 월드컵에서 북한 선수 5명이 금지약물 양성반응을 보였다.
AP통신 등 외신들은 16일(한국시간) 익명을 요구한 FIFA 관계자의 말을 인용해 2011년 독일 여자 월드컵에 출전한 북한 대표팀에서 스테로이드 양성반응을 보인 선수가 모두 5명에 이른다고 보도했다.
FIFA는 송종순과 정복심에게서 스테로이드가 검출된 뒤 검사를 북한 대표팀 전체로 확대한 결과 세 명이 추가로 적발됐다고 밝혔다.
북한 선수단도 이미 FIFA에서 도핑 테스트 결과를 통보받았다.
선수단은 지난달 선수들이 사향이 함유된 한약을 먹으며 치료를 받는 과정에서 실수로 스테로이드가 체내에 들어갔다고 주장했다.
북한은 이번 월드컵 조별리그에서 미국과 스웨덴에 패하고 콜롬비아와 비겨 1무2패를 기록해 16강 진출에 실패했다.
한편, AP통신은 이번 사태가 1994년 미국 월드컵에서 디에고 마라도나가 도핑으로 퇴출당한 데 이어 큰 대회에서 17년 만에 불거진 대형 도핑 스캔들이라고 전했다.