Diego Maradona is a one-man hub of conspiracy theories — he was certain FIFA banned him from entering Argentina's match against Bosnia-Herzegovina (they didn't) and now he believes FIFA is discriminating against the Costa Rican team with drug tests.
After Costa Rica sealed its surprise place in the knockout stage with a 1-0 win over Italy, seven Los Ticos players were called in for a doping test — the usual two as required of each team after every match, plus five more. FIFA said the additional five players were called in because they were among the nine percent of World Cup participants who had not completed their required pre-tournament testing. But Maradona, the only player to ever be sent home from a World Cup after failing a drug test (1994), believes shenanigans are afoot.
From the Telegraph:
Accusing Fifa of a “lack of respect for the rules”, the 1986 World Cup-winning captain said: “Why test seven players from Costa Rica and not seven from Italy?”
Hinting at a conspiracy against the central Americans, who play already-eliminated England on Tuesday after stunning Uruguay and Italy in their opening two games, Maradona suggested they had come under scrutiny because of indirect pressure from sponsors.
He added: “This is only happening because some people are annoyed Costa Rica - and not the big teams - are going through, and so the sponsors won’t pay what they’d promised.
Despite the facts of the Costa Rica matter suggesting otherwise, Maradona is not alone in the belief that FIFA is getting worried about too many small teams making it through to the knockout stage in place of more commercially viable opponents. With Spain and England already eliminated and other favorites in danger of following suit, international TV ratings could fail to reach their maximum potential. But don't cry for FIFA. It's expecting to make $4 billion in revenue from this little show.
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