Arsenal: Arsene Wenger "convinced" there is no doping in English football as FA hits back at UK Anti-Doping chief

 
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No dope: Wenger says English clubs don't use drugs (Source: Getty)

Arsene Wenger has dismissed the possibility of doping in English football, after the head of UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) called for a meeting with the Arsenal manager.

Ukad chief executive Nicole Sapstead said she would "value the opportunity" to speak to Wenger after she argued that football may not be immune to doping.

“When you’re looking at a sport like football that commands the sort of salaries that the players can command, its fanbase, its ticket sales, its broadcasting rights - if that isn’t a risk then I don’t know what is, not withstanding the physical demands of the sport itself,” said Sapstead.

Read more: Arsenal boss continues crusade against performance enhancing drugs

Yet Wenger, a vocal anti-doping critic, does not believe the practice has yet worked its way into the English game.

“I’m sure that not one club in England is trying to dope its players,” said the Frenchman.

“I’m absolutely 100 per cent convinced that nobody in England tries to do that as a club. I’m convinced of it.”

The FA’s director of football governance, Darren Bailey, criticised Sapstead’s “speculative” comments for creating a “misleading impression”.

“The FA has no current information to suggest the public cannot trust in the measures we have in place nor should anyone think English football would ever get complacent to the risks of doping,” said Bailey.

“We are happy to speak with any manager or player who wishes to discuss with us any issues or concerns relating to anti-doping.

“What is unhelpful, however, for all concerned, are speculative comments without any evidential basis of the nature made by UKAD yesterday. Such comments create a misleading impression and I will be taking this up with UKAD at the highest level."

Last year Wenger was asked by the FA to explain comments made to French newspaper L’Equipe that he had “played against many teams” that may have used performance-enhancing drugs.

Bailey said both parties agreed that “this is an extremely important subject”.

Wenger reiterated today that he remained committed to fighting doping in football and elsewhere.

“I just want to help to tackle doping because I think we all have to fight against it - you and me,” he told a press conference.

“What is important to me is that we all try to show that we don’t accept it.

“I think it is important that when a guy wins we think it’s because he’s the best and not because he’s taken illegal substances. And on the other hand it’s a health issue as well. It’s a sports justice issue and a health issue.”

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