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June 2021

Good and bad news for Arsenal from the Fifa Confederations Cup as entire Russian team found guilty of drug offences

by Tony Attwood

The bad news is the Fifa Confederations Cup is still playing and two of our men are involved.  With the final not until 2 July, the players will quite possibly not be back refreshed and ready to play for the Community Shield on 6 August.

We have Mustafi (Germany) and Alexis (Chile) while as far as I know Chelsea don’t have any such commitments, and so will have a clearer summer.

And both players have already made some news as they played against each other earlier this week with Alexis becoming Chile’s all-time leading scorer in the 1-1 draw.  He has scored 38 in 113 games.  Both countries look very likely to go through to the next round.

Shkodran Mustafi was involved in the action in an attempt to play the ball out of defence only to give the ball to Alexis who scored off the post.  He also undertook a scything tackle on Vidal which is oft reported as “tasty” but no foul was given.

Meanwhile in other news in the chaotic life of Fifa, the entire 23-man squad for Russia from the 2014 World Cup is being investigated for drugs offences. Now, as I am sure you know, drug testing in football is not like drug testing in other sports.  It is erratic, haphazard and weird – as the case of Mamadou Sakho which we saw through to the end (unlike the rest of the media who had drawn their conclusions long before the end of the affair) clearly shows.

In that case Uefa kicked up a big fuss about Wada incompetence over drug testing, until it (Uefa) finally, very quietly admitted that the cock up was utterly and totally theirs.

They were indeed forced to admit that the substance Higenamine (at the centre of the affair) was NOT on Wada’s prohibited list.   Thus there had never been any need for Fifa to send the Sakho sample to just about the only recognised lab that did test for Hignamine, among everything else.   The report came back that Higenamine was present.  And Uefa (not Wada) then started making noises about banning the player (for a non-illegal substance).  When the cock up was revealed they then blamed Wada for their own mistake (largely because football, uniquely within the world of sport, won’t follow Wada rules or recognise Wada’s competence).  The full story is here.

Anyway Russia is currently hosting the Confederations Cup and in under a year will hold the World Street Fighting Championships.   The World Cup will also happen.

Anyway, the complete 23-man Russian squad that went out in the group stages in the chaotic world cup in Brazil, are all in a group of 34 Russian players under investigation.  Five of these men are in the current Russian squad playing in the Confederations Cup – although “played” is a better word since Russia has already been knocked out, after beating the Mighty New Zealand, but losing to Portugal and Mexico.

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Of course Russia is the home of state sponsored doping of athletes, and with the gross incompetence of Uefa as its cover, it has pretty much had free reign in football.  Fifa has the evidence against Russia too, but given the way it has dealt with its ethics committee breath holding for a result is not recommended.

Dick Pound, former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency is quoted as saying,“There is a huge onus on Fifa to reach a sensible conclusion on these matters before the World Cup takes place. It is incumbent on them to say what steps they are taking, what they find, and take whatever action necessary to protect the integrity of sport. Even within a governing body with as little credibility remaining as Fifa, if you were a senior official you wouldn’t want to be part of a body that ignores this.

“There has been an institutional denial of doping in football for years … I’ve seen too many presentations by Fifa, straight out of fantasy land, about how they don’t have a problem. They absolutely have to take this case seriously.”

Meanwhile Gianni Infantino has achieved the final part of his coup at Fifa in removing the Ethics Committee and replacing it with himself and his chums.  Fifa has reported María Claudia Rojas, the Colombian lawyer appointed by Infantino, to be the new head of Ethics and that she “has confirmed that all files have been handed over to her and that there are no open preliminary or investigation proceedings involving the Fifa president”.

This is obviously odd, since the previous members of the Ethics Committee said just before they were thrown out, that they were investigating Infantino for corruption.

Perhaps those papers just got dropped somewhere.  Somewhere near a shredder perhaps.

Hey ho.  So it goes.

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5 comments to Good and bad news for Arsenal from the Fifa Confederations Cup as entire Russian team found guilty of drug offences

  • Leon

    “has confirmed that all files have been handed over to her and that there are no open preliminary or investigation proceedings involving the Fifa president”.

    Amazingly she came to this conclusion after less than a month in the job.

  • The_Ledge

    One thing about FIFA, money talks 😉

  • it looks like FIFA and F1 are playing a game of “stupid oneupmanship”. They should invite the Olympic Committee.

  • Chris

    So Mustafi has clocked an assist and Alexis a goal…

  • Pat

    Sorry to see you going along with the media line of Russia being the big dopers, Tony. Plenty of other countries and individuals have been caught out and exposed including Brits. And as you yourself say, in this case it is only rumour and conjecture.