France's Didier Deschamps faces senate questions at doping hearing
PARIS (AP) -- France coach Didier Deschamps spoke to a senate-led inquiry into the fight against doping on Wednesday and afterwards said it is vital for leading figures in sport to increase awareness about the dangers of drugs in sport.
The 44-year-old Deschamps spent a little under two hours answering questions in a closed-doors hearing at the senate in Paris.
"(I answered) many questions. You know I don't have the right to reveal the content of my hearing, and that applies to the committee members as well,'' Deschamps told reporters afterward. "The goal of this committee is to make the fight against doping as efficient as possible in the months and years to come. My role as national team coach, obviously, and as a former high-level athlete (is to explain) what setting an example means when you are an athlete.''
Deschamps, who played for Italian giant Juventus from 1994-99, was asked if any of the questions related to his time as France captain of the 1998 World Cup-winning team or his successful spell as a combative midfielder with Juve.
"I'm sorry, I can't,'' answer, he said. "There is the issue of confidentiality. I had many questions, but I can't reveal the nature of these questions.''
The hearings are aimed at looking into ways of improving the fight against doping. Travis Tygart, the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the body which produced a scathing report detailing systematic doping by Lance Armstrong and his teams, was scheduled to attend on Thursday.
The USADA report led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour titles and banned from elite sport for life.
"It's everyone's duty to make sure that everything goes as well as possible and that the biggest funds possible are made available to those who fight against doping,'' Deschamps said.
"The important thing is to have as clean a sport as possible,'' he added. "To do that you need significant funding. But not just in terms of testing but also in terms of awareness, which must be done not only in the professional world (of sport) but also in the amateur world so that from a young age (athletes) are aware of the dangers of doping in sport.''
Former Juventus physician Riccardo Agricola was convicted of administering banned substances to Juventus players from 1994-98. He was given a suspended sentence of 22 months in November 2004.
Three years ago, two doctors for the Juventus team were banned 60 days for doping offenses. Bartolomeo Goitre and Luca Stefanini were accused of administering cortisone to Juventus captain Fabio Cannavaro and originally faced three-month bans.
Cannavaro tested positive after an August game between Juventus and AS Roma. He said the cortisone was for a bee sting.
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