Former FC Barcelona player Eric Abidal during the spanish league match against Rayo Vallecano at the Nou Camp Stadium on November 29, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain, Picture: 123RF/Sportgraphic
Former FC Barcelona player Eric Abidal during the spanish league match against Rayo Vallecano at the Nou Camp Stadium on November 29, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain, Picture: 123RF/Sportgraphic

Barcelona denied on Wednesday that they illegally bought a transplant liver for their former defender Eric Abidal.

A Barcelona court said it had investigated a possible crime of organ trafficking for more than a year before deciding not to proceed because of a lack of evidence.

"FC Barcelona roundly deny any irregularity in the matter," the club said on their website.

Abidal, a former France international, received a liver transplant in April 2012 at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona after a tumour was found in his liver. At the time it was said the liver was donated by his cousin Gerard. However, it is now being claimed this was not the case.

Abidal, who spent six seasons at the Nou Camp, made his comeback for Barcelona in April 2013 before joining Monaco three months later.

The Eric Abidal Foundation also issued a "categorical denial" of any "irregularities in the treatment of his illness".

On Wednesday morning, online newspaper El Confidencial reported that a telephone tap of former club president Sandro Rosell suggested that the club had illegally acquired a liver for the player.

Rosell is due to face trial on charges of money laundering in connection with Brazilian TV rights sales and was also investigated for the deal that brought Neymar to Barcelona.

Abidal was named Barcelona’s sport director in June.

"The club are saddened by the lack of rigour in the spreading of such information about such a sensitive issue," Barcelona said in the statement.

The clinic and the Spanish organ donation organisation (ONT) issued statements denying any wrongdoing, although ONT added it had opened an internal investigation.

AFP

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