Wenger de­mands UEFA rule change over drug cheats

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Arse­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger has de­manded UEFA change their rules on dop­ing be­cause he claims the cur­rent reg­u­la­tions don’t do enough to dis­cour­age drug cheats. Wenger has been out­spo­ken against dop­ing and ques­tioned why UEFA rul­ings means there is no way of dis­qual­i­fy­ing a team from con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tion un­less more than two play­ers fail a test.

His frus­tra­tion has come to the fore this week as Di­namo Za­greb mid­fielder Ari­jan Ademi was handed a four-year ban for fail­ing a drugs test af­ter the Croa­t­ian side beat Arse­nal in the Cham­pi­ons League in Septem­ber. Zo­ran Mamic’s side won 2-1 in Za­greb and now Arse­nal face them again at the Emi­rates Sta­dium on Tues­day know­ing they must se­cure a vic­tory to stand any chance of get­ting out of their group.

Asked yes­ter­day if he found the reg­u­la­tions strange, Wenger said: “Yes, of course. “It’s a sur­pris­ing rule. UEFA ap­plies the rule that is planned but I per­son­ally don’t agree with the rule. “You can­not say that they had a doped player but the re­sult stands. “That means you ba­si­cally ac­cept dop­ing. But it is the rule and we ac­cept that. We have to look at our­selves and deal with our own per­for­mance.”The French­man be­lieves the rules need to be al­tered but ad­mit­ted he did not know how much pub­lic back­ing he would re­ceive af­ter see­ing UEFA’s dop­ing team visit Arse­nal’s train­ing ground shortly af­ter his re­cent com­ments. “I don’t know if I would have the sup­port of any­body but I came out on that and as a re­sult we had a dop­ing con­trol from UEFA on Fri­day,” he added. “We had 10 peo­ple on Fri­day to con­trol us. I do not want to spec­u­late too much on the ca­reer of a player. In be­tween (the match in Septem­ber and now) he has been pun­ished. There are two things: our per­for­mance on the day and the fact that they had a doped player.”

That loss against Di­namo in Croa­tia was the first of three dam­ag­ing de­feats in Arse­nal’s first four Group F matches which have left their Euro­pean hopes hang­ing by a thread. Even vic­tory on Tues­day may not be enough if Bay­ern Mu­nich fail to beat Olympiakos in Ger­many.

Arse­nal’s cause hasn’t been helped by an in­jury to French mid­fielder Fran­cis Co­quelin, who will be out for at least two months with a knee prob­lem. “It is at least two months but I’m cau­tious as we had so many bad sur­prises on scans that I do not want to spec­u­late more than that. Cer­tainly for the next

two months we play with­out Co­quelin,” Wenger said. — AFP

LON­DON: Arse­nal’s French man­ager Arsene Wenger kicks a ball dur­ing a team train­ing ses­sion at their Lon­don Col­ney train­ing ground in Hert­ford­shire, north of Lon­don, yes­ter­day. Arse­nal play Di­namo Za­greb in a UEFA Cham­pi­ons League Group F match to­day. — AFP

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