Alexis Sanchez is at the centre of an alleged doping storm after it was claimed he missed a drugs test at Arsenal’s training ground on Monday.
It is unclear who was at fault and whether it is Sanchez, Manchester United’s new £600,000-a-week superstar striker, or Arsenal who could be facing a possible sanction. Indeed, there is even confusion about whether doping control officers attended Arsenal’s London Colney base.
Initial reports in Spain said testers from UEFA had arrived and requested a sample from Sanchez only to discover he was not there, but UEFA last night denied any involvement. More likely is the possibility that Sanchez has fallen foul of ‘whereabouts’ rules, having travelled north to complete his move to United when his whereabouts details still showed him in London.
The FA and Arsenal declined to comment last (Thursday) night and it is hard to say who could be at fault. Clubs must provide whereabouts details for training sessions — which players will be training with which squad — but in the Premier League it is the responsibility of the individual player to update his own whereabouts details. An individual can face up to a two-year ban if he has three whereabouts failures in 12 months but it is not known if it is a first, second or third strike for either Sanchez or Arsenal.
Sanctions are not as heavy for a club. Last year Manchester City were fined £35,000 and warned about future conduct for breaching anti-doping rules when they failed on three occasions within a year to ensure their whereabouts information was accurate.
Sanchez is due to make his debut for United in the FA Cup at Yeovil tonight )Friday). Last night United had not received notification of a problem from either the FA or UK Anti-Doping.