Damir Dokic is no
longer the rank outsider for Tennis Father of the Year. Any parents who find
themselves screaming at an Under 12 footy umpire or notice their veins
throbbing as they watch their kids play sport, should take heed of this story.

In France overnight, a tennis father was jailed for
eight years for drugging the drink bottles of 26 of his children’s opponents.
One of the victims died in a car crash, after falling asleep at the wheel.

According to The Times, Christophe
Fauviau, 46, a former army helicopter instructor, was found guilty of slipping
an anti-depressant Temesta (Lorazepam) into opposition drink bottles during
matches involving his 16-year-old son, Maxime, and 13-year-old daughter,
Valentine, between 2000 and 2003.

It was after a match
against Maxime that Alexandre Lagardère, a 25-year-old school teacher, fell
asleep at the wheel and was killed. According to The Times‘ report, the chief prosecutor summed up his case
by describing Fauviau as: “an adult who turned his children into objects of his
own fantasies of success,” saying: “Nothing stopped you.
Players collapsing on the court, the sight of gurneys, of an 11-year-old girl,
a young woman who collapses against a fence. Nothing stopped you … ”

Fauviau had earlier
broken down in court and begged forgiveness from the dead man’s parents, saying
he could not believe he was responsible for the death. In fact, he had pleaded
guilty to spiking drinks, but not guilty to manslaughter. Under French law, the
charge of unintentionally causing death by administering toxic substances can
see you put away for 20 years, but the judge noted that the defendant on this
occasion had been “a good soldier” and lessened the sentence. Fauviau was accused of
drugging the drinks of five of his son’s opponents, and 21 of Valentine’s
opponents after taking early retirement to concentrate on supporting his kids’
tennis ambitions.

Even his son gave
evidence against him while Fauviau himself admitted: “It’s something that
completely took me over.”

Peter Fray

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