Wenger calls for the introduction of blood tests

Sat, Feb 9, 2013, 00:00

Arsene Wenger has called for the introduction of blood tests to combat doping cheats in football, as he voiced his fears about the extent of corruption in the world game.

The Arsenal manager likened the scale of the week’s match-fixing revelations, which Europol are investigating, to “a tsunami” although he believes English football has no problems in this area or with regard to the bribery of match officials.

He is less clear about the issue of doping and he wants the greater transparency that blood tests would provide.

Beyond reproach

At present, randomly selected players are merely required to give urine samples at the training ground or after matches. Wenger said that sport in general was “full of legends who are in fact cheats”, with a nod towards the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. He wants football’s reputation to be beyond reproach.

“Honestly, I don’t think we do enough [on doping tests],” Wenger said. “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 Geneva [for that to be changed].

“Sometimes, you have to wait for two hours after the game, so blood could also be a lot quicker. 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.

“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.”

Wenger expects Laurent Koscielny to pass a fitness test for today’s visit to Sunderland, while he will omit the Ivory Coast winger Gervinho, after giving him a post-Africa Cup of Nations break.

“I put him back in straight away last season and that was not a good decision,” Wenger admitted. “I told him before this competition that I would give him five days off.”

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