May 18 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, February 8, 2013
Arsene Wenger has called for blood testing in football to uncover drug cheats as he doesn’t believe enough is being done despite a number of doping scandals which have rocked sport across the globe this year.
Cycling has been at the epicentre of revelations but this week Australia has been stunned by the outcome of a year-long investigation that has found widespread use of performance enhancing substances.
A shadow has also been cast over Spanish football after former Real Sociedad president Iñaki Badiola claimed that the practice went on for six years at La Liga club.
This has all run alongside another football scandal in which European police this week detailed an investigation into large-scale global match-fixing.
While Wenger revealed his astonishment at those Europol allegations the Arsenal boss claimed that sport “is full of legends that, in fact, cheat”. However, while he is also certain that there is no corruption in the English game, he is less sure that football in general is free from drug cheats.
The 63-year-old said: “Honestly, I don’t think we do enough against doping.
“It’s very difficult for me to believe that you have 740 players at the World Cup and you come out with zero problems.
“Just statistically, even for social drugs, it looks a bit like we could do better and go deeper.”
The Gunners boss believes that current urine testing is not effective enough but fears that it would need all parties to agree to test blood samples and he’s not sure that the desire is there.
“When you have doping control at UEFA they don’t take blood they take only urine.
“I asked many times in Geneva. First of all, sometimes you have to wait for two hours after the game [to provide a sample].
“It could be much quicker with a little drop of blood and you could go much deeper into control.
“I hope we don’t have a big problem with doping but we have to try to find out and to see how deep we can go into control.”
He added: “UEFA replied many times that they are ready to do it but it poses some ethical problems, because it has to be accepted by everybody to check blood.
“Not everybody is ready to do it.”
While some other sports been engulfed in devastating drug revelations football has been able to keep them arm’s length, but the doping allegations coming out of Spain have hit a little closer to home.
Former Real Sociedad chief Badiola claims doping was rife for six years at the Basque outfit, saying that they bought banned substances and paid more than £2.5million a year to Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor currently at the centre of a cycling trial.
Fuentes was arrested in 2006 in connection with a police investigation named Operacion Puertoin into widespread doping in the sport and a trial is now underway in Madrid with him and three other co-defendants at the centre of it, though the doctor was denied permission to reveal the names of clients outside cycling.
The San Sebastian side have since issued a statement denying the allegations but it has highlighted that football may not be as immune to drug cheats as it was perhaps thought.
But Wenger believes that the right questions are not being asked in order to implicate the people involved.
He said: “What I regret, for example with the trial of the Spanish doctor, that he is in front of justice just to see how he did doping.
“They are not interested at all in who he has doped.
“They find pockets of blood and don’t even ask to whom that belongs.
“In fact, the only thing we know now is that the former chairman of Real Sociedad came out [and said] ‘yes, we were involved in that’.
“The justice should really go deeper. With who was this guy involved?
“It’s quite scary. He was involved with the Olympic team, with some football teams, cycling and had official responsibilities.”
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