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Spanish federation to sue French TV over Nadal drug skit

MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish tennis federation (RFET) plan to sue French TV broadcaster Canal+ over a sketch which appeared to imply world number two Rafa Nadal and his fellow Spanish athletes are drug cheats.

The sketch from the show "Les Guignols," or "The Puppets," shows a life-size likeness of Nadal filling up his car's gas tank from his own bladder before being pulled over by traffic police for speeding.

"Spanish athletes. They do not win by chance," is flashed on the screen surrounded by the logo of the RFET and several other Spanish federations, including soccer and cycling.

In a statement published on Wednesday, the RFET said it planned to sue Canal+ France for "publishing a video in which, as well as containing unacceptable and damaging insinuations, the federation's emblem and anagram were used."

The federation would be demanding that the video is withdrawn, the logo is not used again and that Canal+ pays damages for its unauthorized use, the statement added.

Canal+ officials did not immediately respond to telephone calls seeking comment.

"On this occasion intolerable limits have been exceeded and we at the RFET cannot ignore such discredit and slander towards our athletes," federation president Jose Luis Escanuela said.

Canal+ broadcast the Nadal sketch after Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador was banned for two years on Monday for failing a doping test during the 2010 Tour de France.

It was the latest French attack on Spanish athletes following comments from former French Open tennis champion Yannick Noah in November in which he accused them of using "magic potions."

(Additional reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic in Paris, writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid, editing by Justin Palmer; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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