Costa Rica demand Fifa drug answers

The highest-ranking member of the country's football organisation has called for an explanation after seven of the national team's players were tested after beating Italy
By Kris Voakes in Sao Paulo

The president of Costa Rica's national football team commission has demanded that Fifa explains itself for drugs testing seven of the country's players following their victory over Italy on Friday.

Adrian Gutierrez was left seething after the game’s global governing body chose to take away almost a third of the 23-man squad following the World Cup Group D clash in Recife for drug monitoring, a move which is at odds with usual testing procedure.

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Requirements normally deem that two players from each team be asked to take a test following games, but Fifa maintain the change of approach was due to some of the Costa Ricans having been unavailable to provide samples during the mandatory pre-tournament process.

“We would like an explanation from Fifa,” said Gutierrez. “We believe in, accept, and trust the doping controls that Fifa carried out.

“What caused the surprise was that they took seven players and that raised the suspicion of Costa Rican players doping.”

Such heightened suspicion has caused consternation among the team’s ranks, with coach Jorge Luis Pinto insisting there is no need to question the secret behind Costa Rica’s fantastic form in the competition so far.

“I don’t mind them doing it, but it was the way they did it,” Pinto said of the drug testing.

“We can’t worry about it though. People ask us how we can run as much as we did. Well, it is because Costa Ricans run.”

The Ticos beat Italy by a single Bryan Ruiz goal, and the Fulham striker was one of the seven called in immediately after the game for testing. Keylor Navas, Christian Bolanos, Celso Borges and Marco Urena were also tested, while non-playing substitutes Michael Barrantes and Diego Calvo were asked for samples, too.

Gutierrez has insisted his players will always be made available for tests, but says there is a time and a place for them to be carried out.

“We are willing to give Fifa’s Anti-Doping Control, four, eight or 23 players if necessary. It just didn’t suit us that this was done after a game when it could have been done at any time.”