Arsène Wenger says football needs blood testing to catch the doping cheats

Arsenal manager also causes for tougher measures to combat corruption in wake of match-fixing allegations

by Simon_MacMichael   February 9, 2013  

Emirates Stadium © Simon MacMichael.jpg

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has called for footballers to be blood tested to combat doping in the sport, and has also said that tougher measures need to be implemented to combat wider corruption such as match-fixing.

"Honestly, I don't think we do enough [regarding doping controls in football]" said Wenger, quoted in the Guardian.

"It is very difficult for me to believe that you have 740 players at the World Cup and you come out with zero problems.

“Mathematically, that happens every time. But statistically, even for social drugs, it looks like we would do better to go deeper.

"I hope England is immune from doping but I don't know. When you have a doping control at UEFA [games], they do not take blood, they take only urine.”

Wenger said that “many times” he had appealed to UEFA, which is based near Geneva, Switzerland, to review the situation.

“Sometimes, you have to wait for two hours after the game [for a urine sample to be provided], so blood could also be a lot quicker,” he added.

"I hope we do not have a big problem with doping but we have to try to find out and see how deep we can go into control.

“I would support blood testing,” he went on. “UEFA are ready to do it but it poses some ethical problems because everyone has to accept that they will check the blood and not everybody is ready to do that."

The Frenchman was speaking at the end of a week in which investigators from Europol said they had identified 380 football matches where they believed Asian gambling syndicates had influenced the outcome.

In recent days, the Australian Crime Commission has also published a report highlighting links between organised crime and doping across a range of professional sport.

His comments also coincide with the ongoing Operacion Puerto trial in Madrid, at which Dr Eufemiano Fuentes has confirmed that he numbered footballers among his clients.

So far, the judge in that case has declined Fuentes’s offer to name names. The former chairman of Basque club Real Sociedad has claimed that players from that team engaged in doping between 2001 and 2007, an allegation rejected by his predecessor who oversaw the club at the time in question.

While Fuentes has always insisted that cyclists only represented three in ten of his clients, the Spanish authorities have been disinclined to investigate athletes from other sports including football and tennis who are said to have been implicated.

Moreover, since doping was not criminalised in Spain at the time Operacion Puerto was being conducted – the investigation was made public in 2006 – the charges that Fuentes and others are standing trial on relate to public health offences, rather than doping itself, a distinction not lost on Wenger.

"The Spanish doctor is in front of the justice just to see how he did doping," the Arsenal manager explained. "They are not interested at all in who he has doped.

“They have found pockets of blood but they don't even ask to whom does that belong. The justice should go deeper. When you look at the functions of this doctor, it is quite scary. He was involved in the Olympic team, football team, cycling team."

Regarding Europol’s findings of widespread corruption in European football, he said: "For me, it's a real tsunami.

"I was always a believer that there's a lot of cheating going on in our game and that we are not strong enough with what happens … not with the doping, not with the corruption of referees, not with the match-fixing.

"It's time that we tackle this problem in a very serious way and that people who cheat are punished in a very severe way as well.

“You cannot accept that somebody works the whole week to spend his money to go to a game and he is cheated, because all is decided before he gets to the stand.

“But I don't think at all that cheating or match-fixing is a problem in the English game,” he concluded.
 

9 user comments

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Wenger has always been outspoken on this, i read an article recently where he was talking about suspicious blood values of (some) new signings from foreign leagues.

"In the 1990s, there was systematic doping at Olympique Marseilles and FC Sion. Arsene Wenger, coach at London's Arsenal, spoke in 2004 of "abnormally high" blood values of new players - he believes "that some clubs dope players without their knowledge." Pleading ignorance are those world-class players condemned for doping, such as Jap Stam, Edgar Davids and Josep Guardiola."

http://www.german-times.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18...

posted by hounslowrob [27 posts]
9th February 2013 - 17:18

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hounslowrob wrote:
"that some clubs dope players without their knowledge."

Special Steaks all around for the club dinner.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1182 posts]
9th February 2013 - 18:24

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The urine test favoured over blood testing was the problem with cycling for so many years. I read somewhere analysis of Armstrong's claims to have been tested "over 500 times." Realistically it worked out at a third of that and most of them urine tests.

I would safely assume that HGH, cortisone, steroids and even EPO (either for quick healing or an end of season boost) are rampant in an under tested Premiership. The FA are far more compromised than the UCI and it's not going to be easy to insist Sir Alex takes your call - let alone agrees to rigorous testing of his pampered players.

At least I'm having a great deal of fun asking footie mad mates about doping now.

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1026 posts]
9th February 2013 - 22:51

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bikeboy76 wrote:
hounslowrob wrote:
"that some clubs dope players without their knowledge."

The players were probably being fed frozen lasagne. You can put owt in them and nobody realises for years.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [264 posts]
10th February 2013 - 0:18

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badback wrote:
The players were probably being fed frozen lasagne. You can put owt in them and nobody realises for years.

Funniest comment I read on the horsemeatgate thing was a fellow Arsenal fan remarking that at least we now know how the Spurs team ended up getting the trots from that dodgy pre-match lasagne a few years back Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7894 posts]
10th February 2013 - 0:39

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The timing of this is fairly telling.

I cant see this being just co-incidence given that one of his former players has come out with a statement that has set alarm bells ringing: http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/robin-van-persie-reveals-how...

Bigger, faster, stronger and, most suspiciously, recovering quicker? Hmmm indeed.

posted by farrell [1281 posts]
10th February 2013 - 21:31

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farrell wrote:
The timing of this is fairly telling.

I cant see this being just co-incidence given that one of his former players has come out with a statement that has set alarm bells ringing: http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/robin-van-persie-reveals-how...

Bigger, faster, stronger and, most suspiciously, recovering quicker? Hmmm indeed.

On that subject, there's an interesting comparison of Wenger and Ferguson's public statements in Scotland on Sunday today by Tom English:

http://www.scotsman.com/news/tom-english-the-growing-crises-in-football-...

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7894 posts]
10th February 2013 - 22:06

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short comment from France :
I don't know if Wenger is right when he says : "When you have a doping control at UEFA [games], they do not take blood, they take only urine.”
Because Platini says the exact reverse in a recent ( 21 jan )interview by B. Lizarazu at 43'40" : http://www.rtl.fr/emission/le-club-liza/ecouter/ecoutez-la-version-integ...
so who is right , who is wrong ? I asked some french journos on twitter . No answer at this time

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posted by yland [16 posts]
11th February 2013 - 11:09

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

On that subject, there's an interesting comparison of Wenger and Ferguson's public statements in Scotland on Sunday today by Tom English:

http://www.scotsman.com/news/tom-english-the-growing-crises-in-football-1-2783602

I saw that article and wrote it off as a journo having a cheap swipe at Ferguson by using out of context quotes.

Around the same time Ferdinand missed his test there were other players who had tested positive for banned substances who were allowed to walk off scot free, other Players who were caught and received fines but had their identities hidden, Manchester City had a player who also forgot attend a test in very similar circumstances to Ferdinand and was given a light fine and they attempted to hide his identity until it was uncovered as part of Ferdinand's defence.

I think it is more to do with Ferdinand being splashed all over the papers within minutes and being handed one of the toughest anti-doping sentences in British football, with Dick Pound and WADA getting involved that was the source of the annoyance, rather than the actual anti-doping side of it.

posted by farrell [1281 posts]
11th February 2013 - 13:02

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