A miscommunication lead to a tough few days for Valencia and Russia star, Denis Cheryshev, who was suddenly accused of doping…by his father
“Why would you say something like that, Dad?”
We weren’t present when Denis Cheryshev encountered his father, former Russian star Dmitri Cheryshev, regarding one of the most bizarre news items over the last few months. But we can imagine the conversation.
The international winger, after becoming one of the best players of the World Cup in his home country, had begun the new season with a fresh attitude, new club (Valencia CF) and pinpoint accuracy, already scoring in his first game as a starter with a beautiful header against Levante.
Now, however, everyone spent the last week paying close attention to a budding doping scandal that, ultimately, was proven false and won’t have consequences on his career.
Let’s put the facts in order.
A few months ago, in the middle of the tournament, Dmitri Cheryshev spoke to Russian publication Sport Interview and said that his son had received an injection containing “growth hormones” in the months that preceded the World Cup, to recover from an injury.
A few eyebrows were raised at the time, but hey, the heat of the tournament shifted focus away from the topic. Especially since Cheryshev himself denied whatever nonsense his father had spoken about in the media: “I have never used any prohibited substances and you don’t even have to think twice about it”, the winger stated hours before the game against Spain in the Last 16 round.
Damage control was instigated by the Russian Federation: their officials stated that Cheryshev’s treatment had involved “a platelet-rich plasma (PRP)” injection (which is legal, by the way) and blamed all the fuss on a wrong interpretation of Dmitri’s quote by the journalists.
Matters quietened down, Russia finished the World Cup on a high note (only knocked out by finalists, Croatia, on penalties) and Cheryshev went on holiday, before moving to Valencia from Villarreal on loan in the early days of August.
Now, the doping accusations are back with a vengeance. On Tuesday, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed a doping probe into the Russian winger, which kicked off after the remarks made by his father in July. On Wednesday, the Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport confirmed that they had opened an investigation into the player.
“We want to find out more information about the case,” said a spokesman, “and this investigation is being carried out with the co-operation of Russia’s anti-doping agency and is in contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency”.
The player’s close friends and family kept denying the accusations while Valencia CF fully backed him. In fact, Valencia’s director Mateu Alemany insisted hours later that the club hadn’t received any notification regarding a potential investigation, and once again brought up a misquoting of Denis’ father as the only reasonable explanation.
“We have had no communication in any form, he was tested while playing at Villarreal and at the World Cup. After reading everything written related to this issue, I think it’s a mistake in the transcription: growth factors are not the same as growth hormones”, Alemany said in a press conference.
Villarreal, the club where Cheryshev was playing when this incident began, hasn’t spoken out publicly about the matter. People surrounding the player supported his claims of innocence. Finally, on Thursday the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency confirmed the news: after checking the documents delivered by Villarreal, the PRP treatment was confirmed and everything was attributed to Dmitri’s verbal mishap.
If it had been proven that the player had been using such a treatment without any medical basis, a competition ban of up to four years could have been enforced by the relevant authorities.
In the same way, once Cheryshev has been proven innocent…his father might need a few lessons in communication in order to prevent further slip-ups this controversial.