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Feb 9, 2013

Wenger fears drug scandal in football

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger fears football may be the next major sport to be embroiled in a damaging drug scandal unless the game's authorities act quickly to ensure their big stars are not cheating.

• Match-fixing shocks Wenger
•  Blog: Beauty and the beast

Wenger has called for football's governing bodies to introduce blood testing to ensure the use of performance enhancing drugs is not a part of the football fabric.

The Frenchman has also suggested the notion that big stars in the sport are free from the temptation of steroid abuse is hard to believe.

"It is very difficult for me to believe that you have 740 players in the World Cup and you come out with zero problems," he said. "We could go much deeper into control and we have to try to find out and see how deep we can go into control.

"When you have a doping control at UEFA, they do not take blood, they take only urine. I have asked many times for this to be looked at. Sometimes you have to wait for two hours after the game, so blood could be a lot quicker.

"I would support it (blood testing). UEFA is 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."

After the fall from grace of cyclist Lance Armstrong was complemented by an alarming drug scandal affecting Australian sport this week, Wenger has suggested football needs to examine its own demons before they threaten the sport's credibility.

"When you look at psychological tests that have been done on people who are at the top in all sports and ask them if they would take a product that would guarantee them a gold medal or a world championship and 50 per cent people of say yes, they would take it," he said.

"That is quite scary. That is how far people are ready to go to win. If you go to amateur level and do that test, only two per cent say they would take it. We are at the level where people are ready to do anything to win."

Wenger fears the ongoing court trial of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, which is reported to implicate a host of high profile sporting stars in cycling, football and tennis in drug scandals, will further expose the performance enhancing ethic mindset of many top sporting stars and suggest the authorities need to dig deeper to expose the cheats.

"What I'm concerned about in the trial of the Spanish doctor is that he is in front of the justice just to see how he did the doping," he added. "They are not interested at all in who he has doped, just what he did.

"They have found pockets of blood but they don't even ask who it belongs to. The only thing we know is that the former chairman of Real Sociedad is involved in that. The justice should go deeper."

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