Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has remarked football has become “full of legends who are in fact cheats”. Wenger went on to remark that cheating has been widespread in the sport for decades.
The 66-year-old was recently called by the Football Association (FA) to explain comments made to French newspaper L'Equipe following the doping scandal in Russian athletics where he suggested there was a drugs problem in soccer. Wenger, who has been with Arsenal since 1996 and became the club's longest-serving manager, said he wants regular in-competition blood testing in football. Known for revolutionizing of football in England in the late 1990s, Wenger said he hopes we do not have a big problem with doping but we have to try to see how deep we can go into control. Under his leadership, Arsenal completed a league and FA Cup double in 1996. The club managed to win another league and cup double in 2002.
Wenger added that he wants the anti-doping controls to include regular in-competition testing of blood as well as urine samples of players. Wenger also expressed shock on the Europol match-fixing investigation that has identified 360 suspect games and said it is a real tsunami and cannot be accepted. The Arsenal manager said he has always been a believer that there is a lot of cheating going on in the sport.
Wenger added the sport has not done enough with whatever happens with doping, corruption of the referees, and match fixing and also said it is high time that we handle this problem in a very serious way and cheats who spoil the game should be handed out a strict punishment. Wenger said he feels bad for fans and remarked you cannot accept that somebody who works the whole week decides to spend his money to go to a game and you cheat him because all is decided before he gets to the stand.
Commenting on the drug testing program of football, Wenger said he does not believe we are doing enough. He remarked it is very difficult for him to believe that you come out with zero problems with 740 players in the World Cup and said when experts ask people who are at the top in all sports if they would take a product that would guarantee them a gold medal or a world championship, but mean that they died in the next five years, half of them say ‘yes’. Wenger said this is quite scary to know how far people are ready to go to win in all sports and also said we are at the level where people are ready to do anything to win.
Wenger also said it is a shame that Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who is on trial over allegations that he doped cyclists, boxers, athletes, footballers, tennis players, and others was not forced to reveal the identities of the people he treated. The Arsenal manager said officials are not just interested at all and said functions of the doctor were quite scary and he was involved in the Olympic team, football team and cycling team.