20th July 2018

Newspaper settles Roberto Carlos libel case over doping claims

Associated Newspapers Ltd. has agreed to pay Roberto Carlos (pictured, left) ‘substantial damages and costs’ to settle a libel case, after a Mail on Sunday article alleged that he had used prohibited substances. The article was based on a documentary in which a Brazilian doctor claimed to have treated the former footballer from the age of 15. The documentary also included a testimonial from an athlete naming Carlos as having received treatment from the doctor in 2002, the year in which the Brazil team – featuring Carlos – won the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea Japan.  

As reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative at the time, Carlos vehemently denied the accusations, arguing that he had never met the doctor. “It is hard to imagine a more serious allegation against any professional sportsman, let alone a sportsman of the international distinction and renown of Mr. Carlos”, read a statement (PDF below) from Andy Lee, Senior Associate at Brandsmiths, which represented Carlos. “We are delighted the firm has been able to use its experience in defamation matters to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion for Mr. Carlos and to vindicate his good name.”

“The allegations against me were completely false and unfounded”, said Carlos in the statement. “I have never used banned drugs to cheat as the newspaper has now acknowledged without reservation. Those allegations caused me deep distress and embarrassment aside from being very damaging to my reputation. To be completely clear, I do not know and have never met the Brazilian doctor who was named in the articles as having supposedly administered performance-enhancing drugs to me.”

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