Madrid, Oct 26 (IANS) Ilias Fifa, the 2016 European 5,000 metres champion, has been detained for suspected links to a doping ring.
The 28-year-old Spanish athlete, who was born in Morocco, but came to Spain hidden under a lorry when he was 16 years old and gained Spanish nationality, was arrested from his home in the town of Santa Coloma de Gramanet, close to Barcelona on Wednesday afternoon, while the building was searched for possible doping substances, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Spanish press reported that two other people have been arrested in the operation and a total of 10 searches carried out in the Barcelona area, but also close to Valencia and in the city of Guadalajara, close to Madrid.
Fifa could face charges of endangering public health if his involvement in the ring is proved.
Meanwhile the Spanish Athletics Federation issued a communique saying it “respected the judicial and police actions,” and his club FC Barcelona has confirmed that if Fifa is found guilty it will take “strong measures” against him.”
The 2016 European gold medal is the high point of Fifa’s career, given that he failed to make the final of the 2016 Olympic Games, or the 2017 World Championships, failing to get out of the heats in both occasions.