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Basketball - Did Real Madrid cheat?

If rumours of Real Madrid using false documents for Marcus Slaughter were to be confirmed, the club could lose its 2015/16 titles

Basketball - Did Real Madrid cheat?
Basketball - Did Real Madrid cheat?

If rumours of Real Madrid using false documents for Marcus Slaughter were to be confirmed, the club could lose its 2015/16 titles

El passaport de Marcus Slaughter

Win everything comes at a price. To some, it is just a matter of "0" on the paycheck, to others, it can be done using slightly unorthodox methods. Yesterday, an earthquake troubled Spanish basketball quietness as the Spanish daily La Vanguardia revealed the story of Marcus Slaughter (an ex Real Madrid player) and Andy Parko (an ex-Montakit Fuenlabrada player), two American baketball players suspected of using false documents last season.

According to the Spanish Sports Council, it's not news. Indeed, something happened back between April and May 2015 that already had the authorities on alert. At that time, Baloncesto Fuenlabrada sent to the Spanish Basketball Federation Andy Panko's documents (an American player) to confirm his new nationality (Equatorial Guinea). Thanks to the Cotonou Agreement (signed between Europe and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, including Equatorial Guinea), this meant freeing a spot in the squad for another non-EU player, and get therefore more chances to avoid relegation at the end of the season - Fuenlabrada was at the bottom of the table. Unfortunately for the club, Real Madrid had already presented their own Equatorial Guinean passport, for their player Marcus Slaughter (another American player).

The problem was that both passports had the same number, the AA001696. When the Spanish Federation noticed the error, they asked for a registration certificate of the consulate for Panko after notifying it to the Spanish basketball league Association, the ACB, and the Spanish Sports Concil. The case was then communicated to the police. Weirdly, the club Montakit Fuenlabrada immediately abandoned their initiative to get Panko's new nationality validated. This was related to Marcus Slaughter's case, since both passports appeared to have the same numbers. The investigation didn't stop there and Madrid Examining Court required the help of Equatorial Guinea Ambassador, Purificación Angué. The latter confirmed than in the case of Slaughter as in Panko's, passports "are not legal, but forged using fraudulent methods, since both gentlemen don't live nor have ever lived in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, which is why they will have to justify the origin of those documents."

While Fuenlabrada finally didn't use Panko's new passport and kept him as a non-EU player, Real Madrid did enjoy the possibility to get a third non-EU player in the team as Slaughter's passport made him usable in the same conditions as any EU player. This means he played both Copa del Rey final and La Liga final in the 2014/15 season with a passport that could turn out to be a false one. Barça, shocked by the case, decided to apply to join the proceedings as a civil party. Here is what the club stated:

"FC Barcelona wishes to express its surprise and concern about a matter that, if confirmed to be true, would suppose major adulteration of competitions. Given the allegations published today [Monday], The Club's Management of Professional Sports has ordered the Club's legal services to immediately request permission for FC Barcelona to appear before the Magistrate Court that is investigating the case, as an aggrieved party as a result of these allegations."

La Liga ACB, the Spanish Basketball Clubs Association, also reacted after Barça's communicate was published, and decided to join the juridical action to "defend the legitmitate interests of the competition and of the organisation."

Both players, who have the same agent, Serbian Mizko Raznatovic, could risk up to 2 years in prison for forgery and could cost their teams all titles from the past season (2 in Real Madrid's case, Copa del Rey and Liga, 0 in Montakit Fuenlabrada's case). Justice is examining all the elements right now, especially in Turkey and France, where Slaughter and Panko are now respectively playing.