Wenger fears doping scandals could affect football

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Wenger urges football to do more to stop drug cheats
Wenger urges football to do more to stop drug cheats

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed his view that football should be doing more to ensure the sport is not being harmed by drug cheats.

A spotlight has been shone on sport in the last couple of days after the World Anti-Doping Agency published their report which accused Russia's athletics federation of running a doping programme and suggested the country should be banned from future events.

Many believe the expose of Russia's widespread doping could be merely the starting point for further revelations - with other sports expected to be studied in more depth.

Wenger has previously expressed his concerns that football was not doing to enough to identify drug cheats and he has reopened that debate in his interview with L'Equipe.

"Honestly, I don’t think we do enough on tests,” he said when asked about drugs in football. “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 matches, they do not take blood, they take only urine.

"I have asked many times in about this. I hope we do not have a big problem with doping but we have to try to find out.”

Wenger insisted he has never ordered one of his players to take performance-enhancing drugs but believes doping could still be an issue within football.

Wenger's Arsenal side lost to Dynamo Zagreb in a Champions League clash in October before Arijan Ademi failed a drugs test for the Croatian side, although his 'B' sample is still being investigated.

Wenger suggests it is a matter of personal pride not to try to synthetically better his teams, even if he thinks opponents may have done.

"I try to be faithful to the values that I find important in life and to transmit them to others," he added.

"In 30 years of my coaching career, I never got one of my players injected to be more efficient. I never gave them a product that can improve performance. It is about pride. I've played against a lot of teams that were not in this state of mind."

The Frenchman has long been an advocate of more stringent drugs testing in football and feels any sort of sporting achievements currently being recorded can never be truly trusted.

"Today, we will glorify he who runs 10.1 seconds and not the one who runs in 10.2 seconds. But they all run very fast anyway," he added.

"This is very dangerous in sport. It is happening in an era where we glorify whoever wins; whatever the method and means.

"Then we realise 10 years after that the guy cheated. During that time the one who was second - he suffered and is not recognised."