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Spanish FA threaten legal action over Malta 'drugging' claim

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The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has threatened to take legal action following claims made by former members of Malta's national team that they were drugged before suffering a heavy defeat to Spain in 1983.

Ex-Malta internationals Silvio Demanuele, Emanuel Fabri and Carmel Busuttil, as well as former Malta coach Victor Scerri said during an interview with "Fiebre Maldini," a Spanish TV show on Movistar +  that they were drugged at half-time of their 12-1 loss to Spain in Seville 35 years ago.

The former players also claimed that the Spanish players had taken performance-enhancing drugs and had "white foam coming out of their mouths."

Spain had to win the match by 11 goals to overtake Netherlands on goals scored and qualify for the 1984 European Championship.

The Maltese players claimed that at half-time, when they were trailing 3-1, that they were given drugged lemons at the Benito Villamarin stadium.

An RFEF statement said: "The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) vehemently rejects all allegations made recently by some of the members of the Maltese national team that took part in the game on Dec. 21, 1983, at Seville's Benito Villamarin stadium and that have been picked up by certain media.

"Those statements are absolutely false. They lack any foundation and are totally extemporaneous.The Royal Spanish Football Federation confirms that the [Spain] players were absolutely clean and reiterates that it has been one of the most important games in the history of the senior team.

"We demand absolute respect for the national team while the RFEF reserves the possibility to take legal action against anyone that atttempts to stain the good image of Spanish football."

Spain reached the final of Euro '84 before losing to hosts France.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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