London, Jan 21 (IANS) The UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) agency chief Nicole Sapstead said she will “value the opportunity” to talk to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger about his comments on doping in football. Wenger spoke out on the topic last year, saying he believed football was not immune to doping issues. He said he wanted “deeper, better tests” for drugs in football. Sapstead also revealed that UKAD was looking at helping Russia’s anti-doping agency to run testing programmes.
“When you’re looking at a sport like football that commands the sort of salaries that the players can command, its fanbase, its ticket sales, its broadcasting rights – if that isn’t a risk, then I don’t know what is, notwithstanding the physical demands of the sport itself,” Sapstead was quoted as saying by the BBC on Wednesday.
“Add that into a nice big mix and you’ve got everything pointing to a doping issue,” she added. The move comes in the wake of last year’s doping scandal in athletics. Russia is currently banned from all athletics competitions following accusations of widespread doping. Wenger, the longest-serving manager in the English Premier League, has long been an advocate of advances in drug testing in football. In November, the Frenchman criticised the European football association’s (UEFA) drug regulations after Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb’s midfielder Arijan Ademi was banned for four years for failing a test following his side’s Champions League win over Arsenal in September. Wenger was upset that the result stood and Dinamo were not expelled from the competition.