Spain’s Supreme Court has ordered French newspaper Le Monde to pay a 300,000 euros fine to Real Madrid for linking the club to doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.
The Paris-based daily published an article in December 2006, associating Los Blancos and Barcelona with the notorious doctor. Le Monde claimed it had seen Fuentes notes over “preparation plans” for both clubs.
This article was published after Fuentes had been found guilty and sent to jail for being the organiser of a doping network and practising illegal medicine. The Operacion Puerto affected several cycling teams, but only Fuentes and fitness coach Jose Ignacio Labarta were condemned.
Le Monde has been also fined to pay Barcelona 15,000 euros for the same reason. The newspaper had been previously found guilty by a Spanish provincial court, but they appealed to the Supreme Court, who has confirmed the sentence.
Real Madrid and Barcelona had asked for the same compensation for the damages to their image. However, the Catalans will receive less due to a technical mistake in its complaint.
The French daily has revealed they are not willing to compensate Spanish football giants and they will appeal again, this time to the Constitutional Court of Spain, the highest legal institution in Spain.
Le Monde’s spokesman Stephane Mandard has stated the Supreme Court’s will is “to kill the investigation press.” However, neither he nor his colleagues have shown a single proof that would actually link Madrid and Barca with Eufemiano Fuentes.
If the Constitutional Court reasserted the Supreme’s Court decision, Le Monde would still be able to appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union, what seems very unlikely.