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October 2016
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Vardy’s drugs issues causes transfer concern

By Tony Attwood

The alleged transfer of Jamie Vardy to Arsenal which emerged and then vanished again like a puff of cigarette smoke has taken another turn after the Daily Mail published pictures which shows Vardy carrying a supply of legal, but dubious, drugs.

This comes at a time after Uefa turned its back on WADA’s list of banned substances, and declared that it was not going to abide by the list, but instead come up with its own list.  It then immediately took Mamadou Sakho off the suspended player list instead of banning him from playing having failed a drugs test.

Although that story was largely ignored by the media as it came in the days when the official word was that everything about Uefa and the Euros was wonderful, it has rumbled on in the background.  Uefa has said nothing further about how far it is going to take the retreat from the drugs rules that the rest of world sport follows, and the media has instead turned to shocked amazement and total surprise at how Uefa could be so awful at policing a football match.

However the issue of Vardy’s preferred drug cocktail before matches has rumbled on.  It is not illegal under WADA rules – although in the current climate even if it were there is no doubt that Uefa would immediately say that it was “holding an investigation” into WADA rules and excuse Vardy.  But what Vardy is doing is certainly a way of artificially stimulating his physical ability while doing long term damage to his body and to his brain.

The evidence published by the Daily Mail shows Vardy carrying a tin of nicotine pouches in one hand and a can of Red Bull in the other.   Both stimulants are listed by WADA as substances that are under consideration for banning orders – a consideration that will be brought forwards if they start to be used in competition.

The revelations have come as no surprise to the FA who have openly confirmed they know all about it, and are more than happy to allow it to happen, despite the obvious damage that nicotine causes in killing off brain cells and stopping new brain cells forming.  If you are interested in the evidence of just how much damage nicotine does to the brain New Scientist ran an article on some research into the issues a while back, and you can read the results here.  If you want a further insight into the addictive effect of nicotine, the US government health site has some helpful evidence here.

According to the Mail sources at Leicester acknowledge Vardy uses the addictive stimulant during games in order to improve his performance.

UK anti-doping chief Michele Verokken is quoted as saying,  “The key question here for the anti-doping authorities is establishing, scientifically, if stimulants like nicotine are performance enhancing.   It has been on the monitored list since 2012 and would only be an issue when used in competition [as is clearly the case now]. It would act as a stimulant by increasing the heart rate.”

WADA concluded that nicotine increased ‘vigilance and cognitive function’, and reduced stress and body weight.  The Mail also quotes Roger Pielke, director of the sport governance centre at the University of Colorado, as saying ‘Both nicotine and caffeine are among the more well-studied performance-enhancing substances… There’s a study in my new book about caffeine across a range of sports and the performance enhancement is three to seven per cent, whether that’s rowing, sprinting or whatever.

‘Anyone who wakes up in the morning and has a cup of coffee or tea knows the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine. They’re perfectly legal and athletes take them, which is no surprise.

‘Used together, do they give you an added boost in terms of energy? I’m not aware of any studies which have looked at the double benefit but look at Maria Sharapova with her 30 medicines — athletes are going to take everything and anything they can that might give them a benefit, regardless of whether the science is there.’

However while Uefa has taken an increasingly relaxed view of drug abuse, rejecting the WADA list of banned substances, and also refusing to implement any punishment for a football club when a player is found to have played with a banned substance, the rest of sport has travelled in the opposite direction.

From the start of last year sporting competitors in every field other than Uefa controlled football who have been found to take performance-enhancing drugs can face bans of up to four years, rather than the two years that were laid down previously.

However a number of players were caught under WADA rules before Uefa started to change them unilaterally, including of course Adrian Mutu who failed tests at Chelsea and again later in Italy.  Edgar Davids was caught taking nandrolone.

Many others, although caught, protest their innocence endlessly.  Jap Stam still says he was innocent and appealed twice against his convictions also for the use of nandrolone.  Pep Guardiola is another caught out with nandrolone, who protested his innocence.  Six years after the findings he was cleared in 2007, but the case started up again in 2008, and in 2009 he won another appeal.  He finished playing in 2006 and by 2007 was manager of Barcelona’s reserve team.

Mark Bosnich tested positive for cocaine while at Chelsea and Jake Livermore has more recently suffered the same fate.  Kolo Toure got suspended for six months for taking some of his wife’s fat reduction pills.

The issue in football is however also one of public image and the whole team.  When Jack Wilshere was caught smoking he was reprimanded by Arsenal, not just in terms of the damage the action was doing to his own body and mind, but also because of the responsibility that Wilshere is perceived by the club to have towards young fans, and in relation to the image of the club.

And that is the Vardy issue – he has the highest profile, and clearly neither the FA nor Uefa are going to do anything about his habit.  But Arsenal is well known to take the public profile of its players very seriously, and where players have slipped the club has worked hard to help players like Adams and Merson overcome their problems.  But taking on a player known to be behaving as Vardy is could – and in my personal view should – be another matter.

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38 comments to Vardy’s drugs issues causes transfer concern

  • colario

    From as far as I know ‘anon’

    As time goes by I am not so quick
    To censor others as before.
    Wisdom has taught me many things
    And folly more.

  • Leicester

    Are you guys serious? What a stupid article. ….

    This is one of a fairly large number of emails received today which come from invalid email addresses, and such posts are automatically rejected. I’ve just picked this one up as an example

  • david Howlett

    In 2004 Claudio Ranieri was the manager of Valencia.Dr.Luis Garcia Del Moral claimed on his website that he was a Medical Adviser to the Club at that time.He was later banned as he had doped Armstrong at the US Postal Cycling team.He is on a WADA banned list
    Draw your own conclusions.

  • nicky

    Arsenal FC, who once declined to sign a player “due to his unpleasant eating manners”, will be unlikely to regard Vardy’s use of performance-enhancing stimulants with any degree of acceptance.
    If he does come to the Ems, rest assured the medics will each keep a beady eye on him.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Off topic but the fixture list is out on

    We open at home against Liverpool! or is it Liverpool???
    Next match away to Leicester the reigning champions….

    Very interesting is that on April 29 we go to WHL or wherever they will play around that time of the season. Could we win the title there again with 3 matches to go?
    Our final match of the season is against Everton at home. So we open and end the season with a home match against a team from Liverpool.
    I’m booking my hotel already for that weekend 😉

  • colario

    No Walter its ‘looserpool’.

    So we begin with looserpool and finish of with neverton.

  • Leon

    Every Vardy tale is worse than the one before. Surely he now has enough to previous for the club to completely have nothing to do with him.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    If Vardy has truly used or has been using any of the WADA’s listed banned performance enhancing drugs and has proved positive to the usage of the banned drugs after being tested, I think the England manager, Roy Hudgson should relieve him of his call to the England’s camp.

    In this assertion, It has urgently becomes imperative England should take the bull by the horns and run a banned substance drug test on Vardy while he’s still in the England camp.

    Whatever be the outcome of this run test, it will clarify any ambiguity as to if Vardy has been using any of the banned sport enhancing performance drug or not. Irrespective if the drug is on the Uefa’s banned list or not.

    What the sporting World have officially come to recognized and are still recognising, is the WADA’s banned list which Uefa are part and parcel of. And not their disrupted with every intentions to cheat banned list. Just as it has been recently alleged by a former high ranking that Uefa have been cheating in the past European football tournament draws.

    I believe this is criminality in practice. therefore some officials at Uefa should be sent to jail for their criminal activities at Uefa even if any former official at Uefa has gotten promotion elsewhere does not matter. I think it’s about time someone call the excesses at Uefa to order and for goods.

  • bushido

    if i had not been to UA before, maybe i might been shock as i read the news from the daily mail yesterday. but here at UA it sort of conforming the question that been playing in our mind’ if whether or not some of the players from the foxes are taking stimulants or performance enhancing drugs. i really not surprise majority of the peoples on the comment section condemn the news outlet for reporting the news. u got comments like, which side is daily mail are n why are they reporting such negative news about England players, get of the players back. then u got some of the ignorant lots laughing about the stuff like, cant see what all the fuss is about, red bull and nicotine pouches is not a real drugs n so on n on n on. even when many proofs show that this kind of drugs have a negative effect on humans mind and bodies. kid u not’ if JV is a Gunner or the news is about an Arsenal players, u will hear all the abuse n insults being hurl not to daily mail but toward Arsenal football club even by their own fans. kind of strange world we living in nowadays

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    @Mr Broeckx,
    I’ve just opened the website as you’ve referred. And blimy! It’s Arsenal vs Liverpool on Sat 20th Aug as our opening BPL match of the new season. A big home game! Then, the Gunners travel to Leicester to hunt to devour the foxes in our 2nd match of the new season. A potentially tough match! But hopefully Vardy would have overcome his alleged usage of banned substances to enhance his performance and has subsequently moved to Arsenal to escaped being hunted and devoured alongside the rest of the foxes at the King Power Stadium on Sat 27th Aug when the Gunners will be there to devour the foxes and collect all 3 points at stake in that battles of the Guns vs the paws, the teeth and the jaws.

    I totally believe the Gunners will put the Reds to the Guns to make them become more red when they come knocking at the Ems door and consequently deny them getting 1 point in the game as they unlawfully got it last season, then shock Watford with high voltage at Vicarage Road and take all 3 point back to the Ems, and put paid to all the past excesses of the Saints committed against the Gunners to collect all 3 points this time, then caged all the Tigers in the Ems cages to collect all 3 points before the Capital One Cup begins. So it all 15 points from 5 games to Arsenal. What a start to the new season!

  • para

    “while Uefa has taken an increasingly relaxed view of drug abuse”

    Won’t be surprised if they are paving the way for drug corporations to start earning from football.
    After they sucessfully get players to be allowed to take “approved” drugs (approved by them of course) the drug companies will become the sole producer of the “new sports drugs”.

    I know for sure of a Manu player who was arrested for cocaine but the power of Manu had it squashed. It is not clever for me to say any more so don’t ask.

    I was surprised that it is said we are going for Vardy. Now i think this is ridiculous. I really cannot see it. I don’t want to see it. There is something else going on here, i hope.

  • Jammy J

    I would have thought that the advantages of a player taking nicotine and caffeine; compared to one that isn’t, would be negligible at best. Of course i’m not an expert, but that’s just the impression i got anecdotally.

    “despite the obvious damage that nicotine causes in killing off brain cells and stopping new brain cells forming.” Obvious damage? That study you linked as evidence for this, was only done on rats. I’m no nicotine/tobacco sympathizer, but quite often UA are guilty of the very thing they so often condemn mainstream media for doing.

  • Robert

    You’re implying that Red Bull is a legal, but dubious, drug. What are you smoking?

  • Leon

    I used to drink Red Bull & Coke and it certainly gave me a “speed” buzz. How it reacts when combined with the nicotine patches is another matter. If he takes it to help keep himself skinny it’s definitely working. He doesn’t seem bothered who knows as he carries it in full view, so it doesn’t seem as though there is an issue.

  • Al

    Can’t help but feel had Vardy not been associated with Arsenal none of this would be reported on. I mean if it was public knowledge that he and his Leicester team members used these performance enhancing stimulants then why wasn’t this talked about during the season? If he signs for us I can see the knives coming out in full force even before he kicks a ball for us.

    Personally I think Vardy comes with a lot of excess baggage to fit in with expectations at Arsenal (a tweeting missus and all that), and doesn’t look like the type of player who would suit our type of play. Anyway don’t wish to speculate too much, will wait to see where it’ll all lead to.

  • bushido

    Samuel at June 15, 2016 at 9:39 am – even if J.Vardy is found positive using that stimulants, nobody is sending anybody home cos UEFA n FIFA had their set kind of rules n had their own list of banned substances ‘so good luck with that. secondly, we may find out whether or not alien are real n is there is life in other planet than we see UEFA n FIFA corrupt exec n high ranking officials going to jail for their various crime

  • Leon

    Vardy’s “troubled past” which includes an assault conviction (apart from the racism)) was well known and in the popular media long before (at least a year) he was ever associated with Arsenal and is mischief making to suggest it’s only being reported because of an Arsenal connection.

  • bushido

    no one ever suggest the news is only reported bcos of Arsenal connection but rather than if the news is involving an Arsenal players, the public reaction n outburst is more inclined to hurl insult n abuse toward Arsenal football club especially the players n AW. the biased is undeniable when its involved Arsenal

  • Al

    Thanks Bushido, that’s the point I was making. Anyway I certainly don’t recall this being popular in the media, nor even reading about the assault charges at the time it happened (which was nine years ago or so I think, when he was virtually unknown, making one wonder how this could have been”popular” news). And I actually had to Google it to find that he was ever involved in an assault case. Anyway the main point was should he become an Arsenal player then we can be sure a lot from his past and present will be dug out.

    I mean Wilshere has been demonised for just standing outside a night club, while some popular England player famous for visiting brothels and indulging in some salacious stuff with women old enough to be their grandmother barely got a mention. So is it any wonder that we naturally expect Vardy to be placed under more media scrutiny should he become an Arsenal player, given what’s gone on before with our players?

  • Leon

    Not only have no news outlets (popular or serious) made this connection, no blogs have either. All except one that made a very big issue out of it. Seems a bit counter productive to me.
    It looks as though there are some who can’t wait for him to join us and fail or make negative news in some way so that they can accuse the press of being anti Arsenal. They really want that to happen.
    How perverse can you get.

  • Al

    And anyway, don’t know why I even bother responding to someone who says one week “I’ve been a passive regular on Untold for ages without posting” then a couple of weeks later comes up with “wow, I’ve only been on this site a few weeks now but I already know who the head case is…”. One word to describe such an individual; fraud.

  • omgarsenal

    Psycho-pharmaceutical research into stimulants like nicotine and caffeine have shown that the two have distinctly different effects on the human body and such effects are exacerbated when a professional athlete uses them regularly, because of the increased metabolic consumption and muscular needs of such a person. When I was doing addiction research into the difference between nicotine and cocaine, to my great astonishment, on a scale of 1-10 for addiction strength, nicotine came out ahead of pure cocaine by a little less than 2 points on the APA scale (6 vs 8).however these findings were rather statistically insignificant because of research flaws and lack of sufficient population studies at the time. Since then, the World Health Organisation, the American Psychiatric Association and the US surgeon General have concluded from much better research that, ¨ On the current evidence nicotine cannot be considered more addicting than cocaine. Both are highly addicting drugs for which patterns of use and the development of dependence are strongly influenced by factors such as availability, price, social pressures, and regulations, as well as certain pharmacological characteristics.¨ There is very little research on the combination of cocaine and nicotine but what exists does indicate that they are a dangerous brew and certainly present an extreme risk of neurological and cognitive damage when consumed at the same time.
    It is not illegal to consume Red bull and nicotine supplements together but the long term consequences are unknown. This represents a drug cocktail that can present some serious side-effects over the long term, especially when high-performance athletes are using them on a regular basis. We do know the greatly increased risk of cancer associated with nicotine consumption and the withdrawal effects when stopping coffee-drinking and smoking together.

  • Al

    “looks as though there are some who can’t wait for him to join us and fail or make negative news in some way so that they can accuse the press of being anti Arsenal. They really want that to happen.”
    This has got to the most pathetic statement I’ve read today, and I’ve been on sites like the express and the Metro. Enough said.

  • Al

    Oh, and I also had to endure listening to Donald Trump today, but that statement will take some beating, on the pathetic scale…..

  • Gord

    OT, sorry.


    My alarm, is a computer starting to play music at the assigned time. It sometimes takes me a few songs to really wake up. The music is almost always from the 1950’s.

    This morning, the song that got me most of the way to awake, was “Sweet Violets” by Dinah Shore (1951). This is apparently an example of a censored rhyme, and the URL in that goes to the generic version of the song at Wikipedia. I believe this is the first verse to that particular version of the song.

    There once was a farmer who took a young miss
    in back of the barn where he gave her a
    lecture on horses and chickens and eggs,
    he told her that she had such beautiful
    manners which suited a girl of her charms,
    a girl that he wanted to take in his
    washing and ironing and then if she did,
    they could get married and raise lots of

    There are apparently much more risque versions of the song. That snippet of the lyrics comes from At the bottom of the page, they have links to some other versions of the song.


    On a more serious note Brickfields, OMGArsenal, or learned others, do you have any favorite ideas about grief with autistics? I thought something was just another news story, until a different picture made me realize I knew someone who was recently beheaded in the Philippines. Here is a link to my comment in Walter’s recent thread (A money machine …).

    One I have found is:

    I would say that what I am experiencing is this “calm” talked about.

    Following that link (2014) to Karla Fisher’s page (2012) is wonderful (sarcasm). As of 2012, there were no resources on grief of autistics. I am not seeing any processing problems.

    A link from Psychology Today is

    Have I come full circle? The same Tony? No, this is another Tony, educated in the UK but now living in Australia.

  • Tony Attwood is a psychologist who was educated at Birmingham University and who works in Australia in special needs – and is highly regarded for some of his work.

    Tony Attwood studied psychology, was a senior lecturer in music, worked in the theatre, played with some rock bands and became a writer of science fiction, books on the management and administration of schools, and on football. The confusion between the two of us is heightened by the fact that I set up the Dyscalculia Centre – it is not the same area as the other Tony Attwood, but it is a special need (a genetic inability to do maths).

    We are not the same person, but we occasionally get each others emails.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Gord, do you know “sleepy Lagoon” and “return to the scene of the crime” Dinah Shore?
    Sorry to hear about your news, thats pretty difficult to deal with.
    Tony Attwood (the other!) is the King of knowledge when it comes to Aspergers and maintains a great website and has written many books.There are a lot of videos on YT of his,plus a stack of other people who might be able to help.
    Have you looked at Wrong Planet? That can have some good articles too, a simple search for “Asperger’s and grief” should yield a thing or too, Ive just seen a few sites come up dealing with it.Trouble is “psychology today” can be a bit of a surface skimmer,more like a gateway to other things.Asperger Experts are Ok too.
    Thing is all Aspies are different so many may process grief in different ways. Some can go into a stunned shock others meltdown, just depends,on the level of function.
    At some point the calm will go and you will be able to grieve.
    Sorry again Gord.

  • Gord

    I was quite surprised to run across the name “Tony Attwood” when I started looking into grieving issues. But, in finding the other Tony’s web page, it had a picture of this other Tony. Not the same person as in the Untold pictures.

    I would guess you two are close to the same age. Related in some way?

    I think I need to learn something about this grieving business, as eventually my Mom will leave. But, not soon, she golfs far too much.

    The spatial reasoning part of discalculia still somewhat baffles me (I have studied some aspects of discalculia and dislexia, as a friend of the family had a dyslexic child).

  • Gord

    Most of the people writing books about autism, when I first discovered I was autistic (age 40) seemed to be doing it predominantly to make money. Maybe I have been around UNIX, Open Source and Linux too much, but I dislike buying information which is freely available with a little work. Besdies, I have seldom had excess money to “waste”.

  • Gord

    Oh, the music question.

    Most of the Dinah Shore music I have, are parts that come from the Bing Crosby collection at Sweet Violets appears to be the only song (LP) I have.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Thats fair enough about books, all I know is that Tony Attwood wrote whats referred to as “the” guide to Aspegers-I havent read it. A bit searching on Google through Firefox etc will yield a lot of sites than can/might help.Plus theres a lot that might help on You Tube,it really is worth a look.Can you go to a friends and search on their machine if you dont want to go Google/Firefox etc?

  • omgarsenal

    Gord – I am not an expert on autism or specifically Asperger’s syndrome but i do know that the effects supposedly diminish with age and those with autism develop excellent coping mechanisms over their normal lifetime. i dealt with special needs kids with Asperger’s and they were well taken care of in the school setting but needed more help at home. I suggest you talk to your doctor or psychologist who diagnosed you. If you haven’t received an official medical diagnosis then you’ll need to have that done first.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Gord-if you want some sites linking just say, its no problem.

  • Gord

    The weather has decided to help me Don and Ken (Tony too?). In a normal year, the Peace Country expects something like 12-16 inches of precipitation. We have a system moving through, which could deposit up to 4 inches of rain in one day. And windy (there is a 105 MW wind farm about 5 miles from where I live). Consequently, I woke up to find we are getting some flooding int he basement, rainwater coming through the concrete, not sewage.

    So, I’ve been busy. 🙂

  • Menace

    The use of any enhancing tonic to create an unfair advantage in sport is wrong – not illegal but wrong.
    The use of caffeine additive & nicotine is cheating. It is similar to the ‘horse shoe’ in the boxing glove -it is not visible but it gives you a hell of a kick.

    I can just see all the 10 year olds wanting the additives to enhance their sporting activities. The illegality of all of this is using artificial aids to enhance capability.

    Gord, I am not a medic but I have an excellent diagnostic brain. I think simply. If there is anything that I can help you with I will do so gladly.

  • Polo

    Interesting article Tony. Did a bit of googling and found this.

    Caffeine used to be one of the substances banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed caffeine from its list of banned substances in 2004. Although not banned, caffeine is still being monitored. If WADA finds enough athletes with elevated levels of caffeine in their systems, WADA will revisit its policy to determine if caffeine should go back on its list of banned substances.


  • norman14

    My son lives in Japan and my daughter-in-law is Japanese.

    I told them about the alleged racism charge against Vardy, that he supposedly called someone a Jap.

    The reaction was derisory laughter.

    My son, who was born in Australia, said the term is no different to him calling me a Pom or me calling him and Aussie.

    We really need to get a grip on what is Racism and what isn’t!

  • Jammy J

    @ Norman – When have you ever seen someone, repeatedly referring to a person by the ethnicity, as anything other than derogatory? Why even bring up someones ethnicity, unless you are trying to describe them to someone? Least not multiple times. Pom and Jap are not comparable. After pearl harbour, Jap was often used in a intentionally negative and insulting fashion; much like calling someone a Paki.