UK Anti-Doping chief wants to speak to Arsene Wenger over doping claims

UK Anti-Doping’s chief is to approach Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger to ask him about his concerns that many football teams use performance-enhancing drugs.

Nicole Sapstead, chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, said something “doesn’t feel right” about football and wants to speak directly to the Gunners boss, who has already expressed his concerns to the Football Association.

Wenger said in an interview with L’Equipe in November that his sides have “played against many teams” that have doped.

Wenger’s Arsenal are tied at the top of the Premier League after drawing with Stoke at the weekend.
Wenger’s Arsenal are tied at the top of the Premier League after drawing with Stoke at the weekend.

Sapstead, speaking at a briefing in London, said: “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 that something “doesn’t feel right” with football and other sports, despite there being no obvious problem in terms of positive tests.

She 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 bloody 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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