Thursday 12 December 2019

Alexis Sanchez caught up in anti-doping controversy after missed drug test during move to Man United

There is no suggestion that the Chilean sought to evade a drugs test
There is no suggestion that the Chilean sought to evade a drugs test

Ben Rumsby

Alexis Sanchez is at the centre of an anti-doping controversy after he was recorded absent during a visit by drug-testers to Arsenal while completing his move to Manchester United.

An inquiry was under way into a potential breach of the English Football Association's whereabouts regulations with regard to the 29-year-old not being present for Monday's no-notice call, which took place 24 hours before United officially announced his transfer.

United, Arsenal and the FA all declined to comment on the case and it was unclear last night whether Sanchez or either club faced a strike on their records, three of which by either an individual player or team within a 12-month period is deemed to be an anti-doping rule violation.

There is no suggestion that the Chilean sought to evade a drugs test and it is unlikely he would even have been aware where he should have been that day for testing.

That is because clubs have assumed responsibility for informing the authorities of each of their players' whereabouts for a specified hour each day, usually during a training session.

If there has been any breach of the rules, it is almost certain to have been as the result of an administrative blunder linked to Sanchez's transfer.

Manchester City and Bournemouth were both fined £35,000 each last season after failing to ensure their whereabouts information was accurate on three occasions in a 12-month period. Those penalties were criticised as being too soft, prompting the FA to announce a review of its sanctions.

City's doctor, Matthew Brown, admitted in September: "It does bring our badge into disrepute but these have been admin errors and there have been no specific anti-doping offences." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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