Page last updated at 21:46 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 22:46 UK

Viagra treatment for footballers

A packet of Viagra
Viagra is not on the list of drugs players are banned from using

A Bolivian football team's former physiotherapist says he gave players the sex drug Viagra to help them play at high altitude in the main city.

Rodrigo Figueroa told La Prensa newspaper he had prescribed Viagra, which oxygenates the blood, to at least nine players in his team, Blooming.

The team from Santa Cruz, 400m (1,300ft) above sea level, were playing at more than 3,500m in La Paz.

Players were unaware of what they were taking, the physiotherapist said.

He stressed that Viagra was not on the list of banned drugs.

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"We prescribed it for several players, especially those who suffered most from altitude," said Mr Figueroa.

He had, he explained, administered the product by mixing it with fruit juice.

Asked about his former side's results using the product, Figueroa, who is now with Bolivar in La Paz, replied:

"At altitude you win, you draw, you lose. The best results came when the team relied on strong tactical nous."

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