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The Belgian professional footballers association ACV-Sporta has been successful in its protest against the official caution players from Club Brugge had received for missing a doping test.

 

On August 9th 2011 drug testers from the Flemish anti-doping authority presented themselves at Club Brugge for an unannounced drug test. But the players from the Belgian top club were not present, because on August 8th they were told by club management that  they did not need to train the next day and that they were given a day off.

 

In Belgian football it is not the player but his club that enters the information into the whereabouts system. The responsible person at Club Brugge apparently had forgotten to enter the change regarding the whereabouts of the players into the program. Therefore, the Flemish anti-doping authority handed all players of Club Brugge who missed their drug test an official caution.

 

ACV-Sporta advised the players to request a reconsideration of the caution. The players followed the advice of their players’ association. They were successful in their request, as the Flemish government decided to cancel the caution. In its verdict it concluded that the players were not guilty of negligence. 

 

‘We are delighted with this verdict, all the players who asked for our advice and followed it, have been successful in their request for reconsideration’, said Dirk De Vos, of ACV-Sporta.

 

‘But in our opinion, the situation for the footballers should improve. When tracking down doping, the presumption of innocence should prevail’, De Vos continued.

 

‘Currently, sportsmen have to prove their innocence when an illegal substance is found in their urine, which is very strange. Why should they be the ones to do so? In our opinion it is the task of the doping authority to prove the player’s guilt.’