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RoboCup Tainted By Illicit Poppy Seed Oil Allegations
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LISBON, Portugal - The RoboCup -- the international robotic soccer league -- took its first substance abuse blow Friday when a random drug test turned up systemic poppy seed oil abuse among the team members from the Singapore Polytechnic. The team plays under the name "Robo-Erectus" and is made up of four mostly-autonomous robots. In the "Humanoid" division, RoboCup rules allow the machines to be remotely operated by humans, "But we cannot condone outright chemical abuses," stated RoboCup President Sven Altikinik.

"I know how they must feel."
-- Marion Jones, Olympiad
It has long been acknowledged in the robotics community that poppy seed oil -- PSO, or "peace", as it's known on the street -- enhances base performance of electro-servos and hydraulic components by twenty-five to as much as sixty-five percent. "It's the unwritten rule of robotics," admitted robotics expert Maury Langford, "Make it work with peace, then make it legal." So powerful is the substance that it is banned from all robotic competitions, though many countries of the world do not consider the substance illegal. As Altikinik explained, "Our games are really research in disguise. It's not about winning; it's about getting better machines on the field every year. We don't want to allow the PSO element to cloud that research."

Principal of Singapore Polytechnic Low Wong Fook showed his outrage over the incident at a press conference Saturday morning, saying, "The good name of Singapore will not allow itself to be stained by these allegations. I have personally spoken to the students overseeing our entry and they have categorically denied use of any illicit materials. We want to see RoboCup's proof of these degrading lies!"

According to the RoboCup bylaws, a team can be disqualified for strong suspicion of PSO abuse, even though no solid proof is provided. "It is a protection for the other, honest competitors," stated Altikinik, "To insure the integrity of the competition."

Without proof to the contrary, the entire team will be disqualified for the 2004 games. "I know how they must feel," said Marion Jones, herself under world scrutiny for alleged drug infractions, "If they want to join me in a class-action suit, I'm sure we can work something out."
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