In the wake of the doping scandal that has rocked the world of athletics, Arsene Wenger suggests that football is far from free of this plague, as reported by ESPN.
The Frenchman hinted that our sport could be rife with illegal injections and performance enhancing drugs, but stressed that he himself had never given his players any such substance. He claimed that it was a matter of pride, but his comments suggested he had encountered teams who had been involved in doping in the past.
“I try to be faithful to the values that I find important in life and to transmit them to others,” he told L’Equipe (via ESPN).
“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 manager went on to highlight a problem area of football, claiming that our tendency to glorify only the very best in the game is the underlying cause of the rumoured doping issues.
“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.
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“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.”
As the report suggests, we have already encountered doping this season. When Dinamo Zagreb beat us in the Champions League in October, Arijan Ademi failed a drugs test following the game, but it wasn’t enough for the team to be punished.
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With so much money in a game that is played across the globe, it’s foolish to think that doping doesn’t happen on a serious level. Plenty of managers are unlikely to have the same principals as Wenger, and we need to be doing everything we can to make sure it doesn’t continue to creep into our game.
Extensive testing is difficult, but it’s something that unquestionably needs to be done.