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Baggio demands an investigation into doping in Italian football

Former Italy midfielder Dino Baggio has called for an investigation into the effects of substances given to footballers during his playing days.

In an interview with Tv7 (via Corriere Della Sera), Baggio questioned the reasons behind the recent deaths of Gianluca Vialli and Sinisa Mihajlovic.

Vialli died this month of pancreatic cancer at the age of 58, while Mihajlovic passed away in December due to leukaemia aged 53.

Baggio said: “We should go back to what we took – investigate the substances taken in those periods.

“I don’t know if it’s due to this, but doping has always been there – we have to see if certain supplements are good or not.

“It’s happening to too many players. In my years there was doping. You didn’t take strange stuff, you took normal stuff, but then you have to see if over time you can throw it out or stay inside.

“Then many talked about the grass of the fields and the products they used, which gave problems.

Italian football was rife with stories about doping during the 1990s, with plenty of questions raised over inadequate testing procedures.

Then-Roma coach Zdenek Zeman alleged that several clubs were guilty of issuing performance-enhancing substances to their players.

He cited the rapid muscle growth in numerous Serie A players, including Vialli and Juventus playmaker Alessandro del Piero.

The subsequent leaking of a police report that showed 21 of 25 Parma players had an unusually high red blood cell count in tests carried out during pre-season training did little to quell the rumours.

Numerous investigations into doping in Italian football during the part of the 21st century proved to be inconclusive, despite the high number of early deaths amongst football stars.

Baggio’s latest comments are sure to spark plenty of debate in a country where football controversies have been commonplace over the past few decades.

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