Soccer Club Denies Former Exec Bought Black Market Liver for Former Player
FC Barcelona dismisses report that its former president bought illegal organ for defender Eric Abidal.
One of the top soccer teams in La Liga is denying a report from the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial that a former club president purchased a liver on the black market in 2012 so a star player could have transplant surgery.
According to the report, ex-Barcelona president Sandro Rosell illicitly purchased a liver for defender Eric Abidal and then made up a story the liver came from the player’s cousin.
Rossell is being investigated by Spanish authorities for money laundering and he allegedly admitted he “bought a liver” for Abidal in four phone calls made in April 2017 that were reviewed as part of that investigation.
In a statement, Barcelona pointed out a court cleared the club of any wrongdoing with regard to the purchase of an illegal organ earlier in the year.
“This only serves to damage the honourability of Abidal, of all the organisations linked to transplants, of FC Barcelona, and of the club’s former president Sandro Rosell,” Barcelona said. “The club deeply regrets the lack of rigour in the publication of the information related to such a sensitive topic.”
Abidal, who later left the team but is now Barcelona’s technical secretary, also denied the report.
Organ trafficking in Spain is punishable by six to 12 years in prison, according to ESPN.
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