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Arsenal play a team whose player failed a drug test. So what is Uefa’s reaction?

By Tony Attwood

Arsène Wenger has revealed that the response of Uefa to his criticism of the way they handle doping has been to send 10 anti-doping officers to Arsenal’s training ground last Friday to carry out random checks on his players.

And who would expect otherwise?  Target Zagreb?  Ask why Olympiacos F.C. are still in Europe with all the allegations of long term corruption surrounding them? No, send in the heavy mob to Arsenal to disrupt training.  Of course.

Arijan Ademi tested positive for a banned substance after the last game and he was suspended for four years subject to an appeal.  That’s good, but let’s wait for the appeal

Mr Wenger was asked by the FA to clarify comments made to L’Equipe, claiming some teams have flouted doping rules and his demand for regular blood testing and said football is not immune to doping problems.

The approach Mr Wenger is taking is that of punishing the club if a single player tests positive for a banned substance. At present the rules say three players must have committed violations in a limited time period before a team are punished.

“It’s a surprising rule,” Mr Wenger said. “Uefa applies the rule, that is planned, but I personally don’t agree with the rule. You cannot say: ‘OK, 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.”

A Uefa spokesman said Uefa worked in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency policies, which more or less tells you all you need to know.

As for tonight, to get through to the Group stages we need to win, and for Bayern Munich to beat Olympiakos.  Then we need to win against the perennially accused cheating club by a greater margin than 3-2.

If not there are two issues: Europa league or no Euro football, and if the former, should we use the youngsters to protect the first team squad.  Mr Wenger said, “There are plenty of examples in Portugal and Spain where teams have taken it seriously and won the championship. Benfica are the example, Sevilla, have done well.”

Francis Coquelin is expected to be out for two months or more.  Mikel Arteta is only out for a short period.  Calum Chambers and Mathieu Flamini can play in their places in midfield and I rather expect that this season we will see Calum Chambers emerge as something far more than we have seen before.

Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, should be back for next weekend.

Speaking of tonight’s game Mr Wenger said, “At Zagreb we were caught on the counterattack and played with 10 men, they scored a second. We have a good history in the Champions League and this season against teams where we were favourites we were disappointing.”

Of course the Telegraph is having a field day, talking of how Arsenal are “stumbling” and how it is “only November.”  (Goodness, I never noticed.)

The talk is always that Arsenal should have bought players before, but no one has been able to give us details of top players who would have come in and sat and waited for injuries to give them a chance, not knowing of course if the injuries would come but certainly knowing that Arsenal has more players in the top 20 European players list than any other club.  Nor how we could overcome those figures that show that only one in four big time purchases actually delivers in his first season.

So now the big deal is that by not going through to the group stages yet again Arsenal won’t be able to attract top players in the summer.   Thus, top four is not a trophy, but when we go out before the group stages we lose out on our ability to attract players.  Does that make sense?  Or is it, “whatever Arsenal do, it’s no good.”  We are accused of going too long without a trophy, and then when we win the FA Cup twice running we are told that isn’t a real trophy. Hmmm.

Will Mr Wenger buy anyone in January?  He said, “That depends now on what comes out of the scan from Francis. I will do what is needed in January, knowing as well that January is not an ideal market. I believe we have the strength inside the squad to deal with that problem in a quiet way.”

When he was asked by one journalist whether he regretted not signing Schneiderlin now that he must rely on Flamini, there was at least a smile. “What is your name? – I will tell that to Flamini,” he said.

Anyway, we know the back four who have performed so well are still all together.  We know Santi will play alongside Flamini.  We know that we are just two points behind the leaders and we have players starting to come back.  We know we have staggeringly brilliant players in Alexis and Ozil, and that Giroud is scoring and scoring, but no, it is doom, doom, doom.

So what’s the difference between myself, and those who worry all the time about the state of Arsenal?  Or indeed those people who write to Untold and say they worry about my state of mind?  (Very kind of them to make a diagnosis, but I think I will stick with Dr Billy the Dog McGraw as my adviser on mental health matters).

The answer is, I seem to be quite happy.  I’m going to leave for the game soon, and will have a jolly good time with Blacksheep and other friends and get home at midnight, exhausted but knowing I’ve had another good day.

By and large I think I’d sooner have my outlook on life.

46 comments to Arsenal play a team whose player failed a drug test. So what is Uefa’s reaction?

  • Goonermikey

    I don’t trust the powers that be not to “find” a dodgy result either!

    The problem with football is that random testing doesn’t happen often enough. I think that the officials could ask for a random sample from a player from either side in each game………..having said that we regularly get referees taking the piss!

  • porter

    That relates to my comment last night about keeping a sample of the bloods taken so that we can get independent testing. Nothing Uefa would like more to shut up the prospect of another scandal than to find both Arsenal and Wenger guilty.

  • GoonerMummy

    Yes, I love this. It’s like when we are winning, everyone is an Arsenal fan and when we lose ones, the world is coming to an end. I just wanna shake some people and say “calm down”..lol

  • Damilare

    “whatever Arsenal do is not good enough”…exactly my conclusion about the pessimists.

  • Pete

    My usual drinking buddies have made their excuses tonight… if anybody is going and fancies a pre-match drink please let me know!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Half time in the U29 game-no score. Arsenal ahead on points but not goals.

  • Gord

    How to go Mavididi! Come on Arsenal, get another one!

    COYYG!

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Arsenal will undoubtedly wins today’s match against Dinamo Zagreb at the Emirates Stadium. Dinamo Zagreb are coming into this game on the back foot of being a doping club. This is an issue that is expected to weigh down heavily on the Modri minds as the game is being played out.
    But going by Zoran Mamic’s altrancies against the Boss in his pre-match press conference, it appears Mr Mamic hasn’t repented from doping his players. But he’s determined to carry on where he left off. He might even has consulted Selven Bilic of West Ham again for his advice on how to spoil the party for Arsenal tonight. Therefore, the Boss and the Gunners MUST give their game whatever it needs to shut the mouth of Mamic for goods.
    I think we might need to wait to see if Joachim Eckert’s Fifa led adjudicatory committee will ban the Uefa President Michel Platini for live in any football related matters. The Uefa MUST vote in as their new President, a man of high integrity who will see to the carry out of reforms at Uefa. And the updating of the Uefa’s anti-doping rules that will meet up with the reality on ground as the Boss has opined.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Arsenal will undoubtedly win today’s match against Dinamo Zagreb at the Emirates Stadium. Dinamo Zagreb are coming into this game on the back foot of being a doping club. This is an issue that is expected to weigh down heavily on the Modri minds as the game is being played out.
    But going by Zoran Mamic’s altrancies against the Boss in his pre-match press conference, it appears Mr Mamic hasn’t repented from doping his players. But he’s determined to carry on where he has left off. He might even had consulted Selven Bilic of West Ham again for his advice on how to spoil the party for Arsenal tonight. Therefore, the Boss and the Gunners MUST give their game whatever it needs to shut the mouth of Mamic for goods.
    I think we might need to wait to see if Joachim Eckert’s Fifa led adjudicatory committee will ban the Uefa President Michel Platini for live in all football related matters. Should that happened, then, Uefa MUST vote in as their new President, a man of high integrity who will see to the carrying out of reforms at Uefa. And the updating of the Uefa’s anti-doping rules that will meet up with the reality on ground as the Boss has opined.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Unless they have spiked samples….and who would put anything past the corrupt forces that run football, hopefully our players will emerge clear from the extensive recent dope tests, and they will be left alone. And hoping against hope other teams will be put under similar scrutiny. otherwise, Arsenal shold be onto the lawyers and making UEFA look stupid, like they did when they tried to put an unprecedented retrospective ban on Eduardo, egged on by Scottish friends in high places at the time.
    As for today, we will win , but with this ref, if may be tough, and the fans might have to be a bit patient, and our players need to be careful.
    Crowd support for Arsenal, and against the ref, if required might be vital.
    But, I would rather have this ref in this game than in Greece, though who knows what delights the corrupt organisation that run European football might have in store should we get to the stage where we need to win in Greece, against another corrupt entity.
    On UEFA, looks like the…erm…ethics committee of FIFA might recommend a lifetime ban for Platini….which would be nice….

  • Menace

    The UEFA drug testers are probably looking for the Zagreb buyers to work a deal!!

    It does not appear that drug usage is an offence but an oppertunity!!! The whole UEFA organisation stinks worse than FIFA. The ball needs to be checked for laughing gas!!

  • para

    Suspicious as i am, i wonder if the needles are checked before they any take blood from our players? They could so easily be prepared, if one had the money and inclination to do so. Next thing, our players are not sharp and stumbling all over the field.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    The U19s lost two one. Hope that’s not an omen! COYG

  • Norman14

    The more I dig into FIFA, the more frustrated I get. The story about Platini has come from his lawyers, no doubt to put pressure on those dishing out the punishment to “do the right thing” so it doesn’t appear pre-meditated.

    There is no doubt that the EUFA Drug Squad chose the most inconvenient time for their raid.

    The FIFA “Referees Development Committee” doesn’t include any officials from either Germany or France. Think about that and reflect on the Bundeslegia and Ligue One, and how the top teams in those leagues operate.

    Then relate that to our Premier League, and add Mike Riley into your thoughts.

    Mike Riley is a Member of said FIFA “Referees Development Committee”

  • Jerry

    @Tony,
    Excellent article, but wanted to correct some things about the UEFA rule on doping. According to UEFA spokesman Pedro Pinto, the rule is “If more than two team members in a team sport are found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation during the event, the team may be subject to disqualification or other disciplinary action.”

    That was from an ESPN article http://www.espnfc.us/arsenal/story/2724180/arsenal-manager-arsene-wenger-criticises-uefa-doping-rules

    I believe what I read before was that Arsène Wenger was questioning how the rules state 2 people must be found positive of doping, but they only test 3 people so it is almost impossible to disqualify a club.

  • Jerry

    Also from the same article, the UEFA spokesman Pedro Pinto had the arrogance to state that:

    “Blood testing is a key part of UEFA’s anti-doping arsenal. 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.”

    So he assumes no one else will call the UEFA bs and basically said that UEFA runs about 290 tests for doping per season (2318/8 seasons = 289.75).

    But let us remember the many competitions UEFA runs:
    Champions League = 32 teams x 23 players (avg) = 736 players in group stage
    Europa League= 736 players in group stage

    So UEFA tests around 290/ 1472 players= ~20% of players which isn’t that bad

    But wait UEFA also runs:
    1) 4 yr cycle of European Championships + Qualifiers = 53 teams x 23 players= 1219 players
    Let’s say 1219/4 to get a rough annual average of 304 more players

    2) UEFA Youth League= 736 more players annually

    So adding all that up = 2512 players annually (736 CL + 736 Europa + 736 YL + 304 Euros)
    290/2512 = 11.5% of all players getting tested annually

    The 11.5% of all players is only considering the Group stages of Champions League and Europa league but the true percent is much lower if you include all clubs that participate in the qualifiers that do not make it.

    And that’s not even including the European Under-21, Under-19, and Under-17 Championships and the corresponding Women’s tournaments to the above men’s competitions.

    In total, the UEFA stance on doping is a joke, just like their stance on racism, and just like the UEFA organization as a whole.

  • TreeHorn

    Yes, the use of performance-enhancing drugs in football and sport as a whole is indeed deeply troubling.

    However, I was surprised by something I read in a recent article in The Guardian newspaper, on this very subject.

    The article included the information that Arsenal Football Club had actually used performance-enhancing drugs.
    In 1925, the Arsenal manager Leslie Knighton gave his players PED’s, and Knighton subsequently chronicled all of this in his autobiography.

    At the end of the 1924-25 season, Arsenal secured their survival in the First Division by finishing just one place above the relegation zone.

    Are there any articles by ‘Untold Arsenal’ which can shed any more light on this particular matter?

  • nicky

    I’m more than ever convinced that Reprisal is now the name of the game.
    Some of Untold’s in-depth criticism of corrupt and/or inept referees has, IMO, resulted in the inevitable and obvious backlash from match officials.
    And now, following Arsene Wenger’s righteous outburst on doping, Arsenal has been descended upon from on high by a veritable army of UEFA testers in a similar blatant reprisal.
    I await the next tit-for-tat instalment. 😉

  • Gord

    From Arsenal.com

    Arsenal starting XI: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Flamini, Campbell, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud

    Arsenal substitutes: Ospina, Gabriel, Gibbs, Debuchy, Ramsey, Reine-Adelaide, Chambers

    I think there must be a typo in that starting XI, I would guess it is Cazorla, not Coquelin. 🙂

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Come on Gunner’s, lets win this game convincingly!

    Come on Gooner’s, let’s cheer on the Gunners!

    aaa, go rot in hell.

  • Menace

    Game on & early knee in the back of A;exis right thigh. No foul. Giroud pushed in the penalty box should have been a penalty. Assistant on dope didn’t see it. I hope these officials are tested after the game!!

  • Gord

    I’m reading 4 commentaries, none of them has mentioned anything about illegal play or incompetent officiating.

    COYG!

  • Menace

    clever defensive passing allows a fast counter & Alexis finds Ozil in tht 6 yd box. 1-m 0 to the Arsenal.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Yyyeeeeaaahhhhh…. Ozil Ozil ozil

  • ARSENAL 13

    Hahahahahahahaha… Electric Alexis.

    Yyyeeeeaaahhhhh

  • Menace

    2- 0 to the Arsenal. Alexis from a pass by Monreal after some poor defense from Zagreb.

  • Gord

    Ozil with a diving header? I wasn’t expecting that!

    COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ohzil could’ve scored another there….

    Come on gunners.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Dinamo are effed….hahahahahahahaha

    Ozil is yet to deliver an assist. And Giroud is yet to score one. And Rambo waiting on the bench…..

  • Menace

    There are a few fouls not being called & some advantage played but subsequent to that must be a card?

  • Gord

    The first foul the Guardian has noticed, is one that Flamini should have gotten (just before Ozil scored).

    > 36: Taravel stops Özil in his tracks, but repeatedly kicking him in the calves until he falls over. The referee’s notebook remains empty.

    A BBC comment was that perhaps Alexis should get a rest in the 2nd half, and bring on Chambers to play next to Flamini. Sure, I can see giving Alexis a rest. I wonder if the new dad (Ramsey) or Reine-Adelaide might not be better substitutes?

  • Al

    Seen this on the BBC website while looking for updates in the match;

    “Poor the amount of empty seats at The Emirates. It’s the Champions League, not a league cup game against lower-league opposition!”

    Can’t criticise the way Arsenal are playing so let’s criticise the attendance.. Shocking.

    Anyway, more of the same please Arsenal, in the second half. COYG!!

  • Al

    Meant while checking for updates in the other match…

  • Menace

    Alexis will not want to rest. He has had a few kicks & the knee in his thigh with Atilla the Hun not booking anyone yet.

  • Gord

    Come on Giroud, get that hat trick so that Alexis can have a rest! 🙂

    COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Campbell has ‘quietly’ had a good game….

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oooooo….nice save Cech

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ooooaaazziiillll….oooooo

  • para

    Well done lads.

  • Gord

    How does Chamber’s look at midfield?

    Walter must just about have that report done. 🙂

    COYG!

  • Al

    Well done Arsenal. A joy to watch our marquee signings in full flow.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Take it easy lads… 🙂 😉

    I just pushed publish 🙂

  • Menace

    Chambers not playing in pressure situation so no verdict. He may struggle as he is a little raw. The team as a whole were excellent.

  • Steve0

    Not sure why Arsene thinks the result shouldn’t stand for a single failed test, as at this point, there’s no proof that the club were remotely aware. The player in question was handed a four-year ban. That’s probably 1/3 of his career spent suspended. That’s more than enough punishment, and it only makes sense to punish the individual, as opposed to the club, unless the club can be proven to be involved.

    If there was proof that Zagreb knew, it would be a different story. Until that proof exists, however, it’s probably fair to treat this as the act of a individual trying to do something in the best interest of his career, and hand out punishment accordingly.

  • WalterBroeckx

    SteveO,
    In athletics which is a more individual sports you get individual bans.

    BUT… in the team performances like 4 x 400m it is the case that if one of the runners is caught of having used a forbidden substance, then the whole team is scrapped from the record list. The punishment of the one caught will be a few years ban but the 3 others who were clean will get no ban. But they will have to give their medals back if they won.

    So you could say that in that case the ‘team’ gets punished for the 1 sinner. As it should be in fact.

    Now have the 10 doping specialists from UEFA tested the whole Dinamo squad yesterday? That would be an interesting question to ask.

  • TreeHorn, we’ve done a lot on this topic of Arsenal and drugs; indeed an awful lot more than the Guardian which just took the standard line. But because it is a historic matter they are published on the Arsenal History Society site. Also if you are a regular reader of this site you will note that on the home page we carry the anniversary data, and the events surrounding these allegations have been published there as the dates come around.

    So I’m a bit sorry you haven’t bothered to take a look around before asking the question, but anyway, since you have, here’s one article written, as it happens, by me, titled

    The Arsenal drugs scandal http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/archives/3655

    which I think is a clear enough title to give a clue to the matter.

    Since writing that I have done a lot more research on Knighton and what he said in his autobiography. In essence, no one at the time or any time before 1948 ever made any reference to the story about him giving his players legal drugs aimed at enhancing their performance (note, legal drugs, not illegal drugs). The fact that Knighton himself said nothing of the story to anyone for 23 years, and only revealed it when being paid to write a series of lurid anti-Arsenal articles for the Sunday press is interesting.

    It is also odd that no player ever mentioned it, ever. Since then I’ve done a lot of work on Knighton, examining all his allegations from his autobiography, and as the articles on the site, and indeed the history publication by AISA on the subject show, all the allegations Knighton makes against Arsenal, and Sir Henry Norris are at best unproven allegations without evidence, or in many cases simply shown to be factually incorrect.

    So we don’t really know for sure if these legal performance enhancing drugs were given, but there are two other points you need to note.

    One is that the side effects Knighton reports were so great that the players refused subsequently to take them. The other is that your note about escaping relegation is irrelevant. Knighton reports that he gave the drugs for an FA Cup tie and as the records show, Arsenal were knocked out of the Cup. If we are to take his report of the incident as true (and there are many elements in the story that are just too bizarre for words) then I guess we also have to take his comment at the end of the tale – that the players refused to take them after the WHU affair, and he never offered them again.