Football not immune from doping – UKAD chief

Date published: Thursday 21st January 2016 9:27

Arsene Wenger: An opponent of doping in football

UK Anti-Doping’s chief has warned that football is not immune from doping and is keen to hear the thoughts of Arsene Wenger.

Speaking in November, Wenger called for deeper and better doping tests in football, claiming he had come across a lot of teams that had used performance-enhancing drugs.

“To think we in football are just immune because we are football players is absolutely wrong,” the Arsenal boss said.

“What I want is deeper tests, better tests, because what we test is superficial. And as well that when people are caught that they are punished and that the clubs are punished as well.

“We have to tackle these problems and not to close our eyes, because it’s a little bit unreasonable to think just because we are football we have no problems with it.”

Now Nicole Sapstead, chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, has said she would like to hear more from Wenger.

“I would be interested to speak with him and hear what he’s got to say. I will attempt to engage with him,” Sapstead said.

“I think it’s foolish for any sport to think that they’re immune from doping, I really do.

“Statistically, worldwide, football per se does not have a doping problem. Football, tennis, other sports. It’s just, something doesn’t feel right. If you were an outsider looking in, you would go, ‘This doesn’t feel right’.

“Football is a rich sport and they have fantastic infrastructures behind them and their clubs. You’ve got a sport that commands huge salaries, players command huge salaries, there’s huge television rights.

“I’m not saying I have any evidence to say that this is the case. But we have seen that people who want to invest in a very clever scientist or doctor to tell them what to take or when to take it or when it’s going to clear their system, you just need some money, and you need to know where to go.

“Because people like Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones show that you can test people until you’re blue in the face and you still won’t catch them, because they had a network behind them that was so much more sophisticated than what we’re able to achieve right now.”

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