The Cadena de Ondas Populares Españolas (better known as COPE) which is one of the most important radio stations in Spain has issued a press statement in which it admits offering untruthful news without checking sources.
In the programme ‘El Partido de las 12’ from 14th March 2011 the journalist Juan Antonio Alcala declared that sources at Real Madrid could not understand how Barça continued to work with doctors with “doubtful reputations”
The insinuation of doping was obvious and Barça immediately denied the allegation and demanded that COPE revealed the source at Real Madrid, asking them to emit an retraction and apology. COPE released a press statement with an apology but it was not seen as enough and so the club decided to take the matter to the courts to sue the radio station for the damage caused to the good image of the club.
The case is finally about to come to court and the latest move from COPE has been to release this press statement admitting the information was “not truthful” and that it came from an unverified source. COPE have offered a settlement payment of €200,000 for damages caused. There has been no official communication from COPE to Barça and as things stand the club seem sure to push for a figure closer to €6,000,000. President Sandro Rosell has declared that he is very angry about the matter.
The press have been bad enough here, but we could also ask about the role of Real Madrid who have remained silent throughout. Wouldn’t it have been better if Madrid had denied COPE’s allegations at the time? Or could it be that somebody at Real Madrid leaked this false information to a Madrid-friendly journalist with the sole intention of destabilizing Barça? Real Madrid, if pushed, can of course say that they have done nothing and therefore they have no need to say or deny anything.
This is not the first attack from the press in Madrid. Last May, there were claims on TV channel TeleMadrid that Pep Guardiola had incited fans who attacked a hotel where journalists from Madrid were staying after Barça beat Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League Semi Final.