We're being targeted, says Wenger

ARSENE WENGER, Arsenal manager
ARSENE WENGER, Arsenal manager

10 anti-doping officers check on Gunners after he slams Uefa rule that lets result stay if only 1 player tests positive

LONDON • Arsene Wenger has claimed his criticism of Uefa over doping resulted in 10 anti-doping officers turning up at Arsenal's training ground last Friday to carry out random checks on his players.

The Gunners' manager has been outspoken about doping in football since his side were beaten by Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League this season.

Arsenal, who played the Croatian side this morning (Singapore time) at home, lost 1-2 in Zagreb and Dinamo midfielder Arijan Ademi tested positive for a banned substance after the game.

The player denies deliberately doping. However, European football's governing body Uefa has suspended him for four years, subject to an appeal.

In the aftermath of that defeat, Wenger was asked by the English Football Association to clarify comments made to L'Equipe, claiming some teams have flouted doping rules. He has also called for regular blood testing and said football is not immune to doping problems.

UNFAIR RULING

You cannot say: 'Okay, they had a doped player and the result stands.' That means you basically accept doping. But it is the rule and we accept that, we have to look at ourselves and deal with our own performance.

ARSENE WENGER, Arsenal manager

Uefa officials visited Arsenal on Friday to carry out random testing after Wenger's comments, and the Frenchman accused the governing body of "basically accepting" doping by not sanctioning a team if a single player tests positive for a banned substance.

Its rules say more than two players must have committed violations before a team are punished.

Wenger said: "Uefa applies the rule, that is planned, but I personally don't agree with the rule. You cannot say, 'Okay, they had a doped player and the result stands.' That means you basically accept doping. But it is the rule and we accept that, we have to look at ourselves and deal with our own performance.

"I don't know if I would have the support of anybody. I came out on that and, as a result, we had a doping control from Uefa on Friday.

"We had 10 people on Friday to control us. I said that before I want better controls. And we got better controls straight away.

"I don't remember we have been controlled before, we have nothing against it. I called for more blood checks. That's a major issue."

Asked if a match result should be overturned because of a single player's ineligibility due to a failed test, he said: "Exactly. It doesn't look logical."

That suggestion received a terse response from Dinamo's manager. "Mr Wenger can think and talk about what he wants," said Zoran Mamic, "but there are other people who make decisions about that.

"I can suggest him to write the rules for Uefa."

A Uefa spokesman later said that the organisation's stance on the "consequences for teams for doping offences" is in line with World Anti-Doping Agency policies.

"Blood testing is a key part of Uefa's anti-doping arsenal," he said.

"Uefa has in fact been blood testing since 2008.

"In the 2014-2015 season, Uefa carried out 2,318 tests - 2,024 urine tests and 294 blood tests."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2015, with the headline 'WE'RE BEING TARGETED, SAYS WENGER'. Print Edition | Subscribe