Give players blood tests, says Arsène Wenger


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The Independent Football

Arsène Wenger has called for the introduction of blood testing in football amid more revelations of cheating in sport. The Arsenal manager believes football does not do enough to combat cheating in any form and yesterday advocated the new measure to catch those using drugs.

“Yes, I would support [blood testing],” Wenger said. “When you have a doping control at Uefa, they do not take blood, they take only urine. I have asked many times in Geneva [for that to be changed]. We could go much deeper into control. I hope we do not have a big problem with doping, but we have to try to find out.”

Few footballers are found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs, but Wenger said this was a bad sign rather than a good one. “I don’t think we do enough,” he said. “It is very difficult for me to believe that you have 740 players in the World Cup and you come out with zero problems. Mathematically that happens every time. But statistically, even for social drugs, it looks like we should do better and go deeper.”

Wenger said top athletes will often risk their health for a competitive edge: “Look at psychological tests that have been done on people at the top in all sports. “Ask them if they would take a product that would guarantee them a gold medal or a world championship, but would mean they died in the next five years, and 50 per cent say yes. That is quite scary.”

Wenger was surprised by recent revelations about match-fixing. “For me, it’s a real shock,” he said. “We are not strong enough with what happens, not with doping, not with the corruption of referees, not with match-fixing. Sport is full of legends who are in fact cheats.”

Meanwhile, Wenger admitted it was difficult to rest Jack Wilshere. “I will leave him out in some games,” he  said. “But it’s not easy. He has a burning desire to play every time and the rest of the team will want to play.”

Laurent Koscielny will have a late fitness test on a calf injury to see if he can face Sunderland today. Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbs are out.