I can't definitively say that there isn't wide-spread systematic doping in football, of the kind we've apparently witnessed in cycling.
I simply can't, because I'm not omniscient. And, after seeing so many high-profile journalists -- from Buzz Bissinger to Rick Reilly -- vouch for Lance Armstrong for so many years only to be proved dead wrong, I sure as hell am not going to do it.
This Monday, when the trial of Eufemiano Fuentes begins in Madrid, we may or may not uncover more evidence. Fuentes is the doctor at the heart of “Operacion Puerto,” the criminal investigation into doping which rocked the world of cycling and led to the suspensions of dozens of cyclists. When police raided his offices in 2006, they found hundreds of vials of doped blood, each with a code name relating to an athlete. According to Dave Howman, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and others, Fuentes boasted to his clients that he worked across a range of sports, including football. Yet thus far, only cyclists have been named in the list of Fuentes' clients.
This has led some to speculate that there is a giant cover-up, that athletes in other sports were systematically taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs.