Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal are at fault for Alexis Sanchez reportedly missing a drugs test as he completed his move to Manchester United but said both the player and club have “nothing to hide”.
Reports surfaced on Thursday evening that the Chile forward had fallen foul of the Football Association’s ‘whereabouts’ rule by allegedly not being present for a routine doping test on Monday.
Sanchez was putting the final touches on his move to United, which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Arsenal in an exchange deal, and an intial report from Spain highlighted the error.
“It is just a bad day for him to be tested,” he said. “Honestly, on the administration side it would still be our responsibility because he had not moved.
“The most important is the intentions are right. The intention of Alexis was certainly not to hide, nor was our intention to hide anything. We have nothing to hide.
“I pushed always for football to do more against doping, so I don’t see why we should not cooperate. We try our best, but this was a special day. On Monday there was a lot going on, it is a special day for Alexis Sanchez – you have to do paperwork and travel.”
Wenger, speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League trip to Swansea, claimed Sanchez was tested many times during his four-and-a-half year stay at the Emirates Stadium.
“I think it is a special event for him to miss a drugs test because he was somewhere else,” he said.
“I’m quite relaxed because we have nothing to hide here, we always try our best to cooperate with doping control. He has been tested so many times here that it’s no worry for me that he has any doping problem.”
The FA regulations regarding a player’s whereabouts call for the individual to give a notification if they are to be absent from a scheduled training session.
That means providing “notification (which) must include your name, your club, and an address and time where you will be available for at least one hour during the day you are absent.”
Players or clubs who violate the ‘whereabouts’ regulations three times within a 12-month period are in breach of the ruling.
Last year Manchester City and Bournemouth were fined £35,000 after both failed to provide accurate information for doping officials on three occasions.
Arsenal are unlikely to face a fine as they have no recent prior issues, but Wenger did give an example of former midfielder Cesc Fabregas being abroad for treatment on an injury as another situation where it is hard to monitor a player’s location.
“It happened to us that we had a player like Fabregas, who went to Spain for treatment, and was controlled in Spain,” he said. “They couldn’t find him because he was at the doctor’s office.
“Sometimes it can be difficult to localise the player at the right moment, but overall, with the number of controls we have, it doesn’t happen a lot.”