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Saturday 9. November 2002 - 22:36

Real youth coach cleared of doping

Former Real Madrid youth coach Jose del Solar has been cleared of deliberate doping after tests showed that a positive reaction for a derivative of cocaine was produced by drinking tea, the Spanish club said on Saturday.

The former Peru international midfielder tested positive for the substance benzoil ecgonina, which doctors say can be found in a tea made from coca leaf, during the opening round of the last Peruvian championship in June when he was still playing for Lima club Universitario.

Real said they had now received a report from the Peruvian Football Federation informing them that the positive result "had occurred unwittingly because of the consumption of a tea drink."

In a statement on its website the club added: "As the reports exonerates the former player and coach from all responsibility, Real Madrid wish to assert his innocence in order to safeguard Jose del Solar's honour and professionalism."

Del Solar, who took up a post as youth coach at Real following his retirement in July, was released by the Spanish club while the investigations were underway but pledged that he would clear his name.
"Never in my life have I consumed any strange substance, not even when I was younger," the former player said after hearing news of the original test result in August, although he said he drank a lot of herbal tea after meals.

After the doping charge was made public, Universitario club doctor Jorge Alva said that, according to friends, del Solar had drunk camomile tea before the test and that the positive result could have been explained by the fact that some brands on sale in Peru contained coca leaf.

It is not yet clear whether the former international will resume his position as Real youth team coach.  
Provided by: Frank Henriksen
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