FA criticises Ukad chief after football doping comments

Nicole Sapstead
The FA said Nicole Sapstead's comments were "speculative" and "unhelpful"

The Football Association has criticised the head of UK Anti-Doping for making "unhelpful" and "misleading" comments about drug-taking in the sport.

Nicole Sapstead said "football was at risk" and that she would value talks with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after he spoke out on the topic.

The FA says it will be seeking a meeting with Ukad over her comments.

It said Sapstead's comments were "speculative" and "unhelpful", adding that they had no "evidential basis".

A statement from Darren Bailey, the FA's director of football governance and administration, added: "Such comments create a misleading impression and I will be taking this up with Ukad at the highest level."

Sapstead said on Wednesday she would like to meet Wenger after he said he believed football had a doping problem, though he stressed he was confident the English game was clean.

English clubs are not doping - Wenger

In November, Wenger, 66, told French newspaper L'Equipe he "never injected players to make them better" but there had been teams he had faced not "in that frame of mind".

On Thursday, Wenger said he was happy to meet Sapstead to discuss the issue of doping.

"What is important is that we all try to show we don't accept it," he said.

"It is important to think that when a guy wins it is because he is the best, not because he has taken illegal substances."

Later on Thursday, Bailey confirmed the FA had already spoken to Wenger following his comments to L'Equipe.

He added: "The FA has no current information to suggest the public cannot trust in the measures we have in place, nor should anyone think English football would ever get complacent to the risks of doping.

"We are happy to speak with any manager or player who wishes to discuss with us any issues or concerns relating to anti-doping."