‘UEFA says: he did not smoke anything. UEFA says: he did not passively smoke anything. NeCeDo has eliminated a ridiculous link between Ebi and the coffee shop scene. The lad can now finally get back to fitness in peace,’ said Club Manager Jan D. Swart.
‘The UEFA’s disciplinary committee actually gave Smolarek a symbolic punishment, because [lawyer] Emile Vrijman was able to prove in his defence and with other examples that it was a case of consuming hempseed contained in health food bars. At that time the case was closed. Without any knowledge of the judgement, NeCeDo felt that a different sequence of diminishing probability had to be followed. That produced erroneous conclusions. Painful even, because once the word coffee shop is mentioned, it has a habit of staying in the air. That was unacceptable to us, because we know Smolarek well. He has no association whatsoever with smoking hashish, spacecakes or coffee shops.’
Feyenoord does not believe that NeCeDo had any malicious intentions in publishing what it did. ‘I imagine that health food shops have contacted NeCeDo to protest and that those other products containing cannabis were added to theirs because of that. But even a neutral explanation can have a negative impact. NeCeDo ignored two things in its initial publication. First, people are poor readers. And second, the director of the Centre failed to take any account of the person behind the footballer. When I read that initial publication I immediately thought: that director obviously doesn’t have any kids.’