Scottish drug testing figures surprise team managers

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland
Drug test figures cause surprise

Managers in Scotland have expressed surprise at the level of dope-testing in the game, following a BBC Scotland report.

It revealed that only eight players had been tested in nine months, with no out-of-competition tests conducted in three years.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said: "If people know they're getting watched and they can be tested just dropping into the stadium at any time at a training session as they do in England then it might make people think twice."

His Hibernian counterpart, Englishman Alan Stubbs, added: "Down south, we did get tested on it quite a lot and it could be very random."

Statistics published by UK Anti-Doping, the body responsible for carrying out tests across Scottish and English football, show that, for the same nine-month period, 1,583 tests took place in England.

The FA in England supplements UKAD's budget to allow for a greater number of tests, something the SFA says it will consider but does not currently do.

"If those are the figures, I would be surprised at that," added McInnes.

Number of drugs tests carried out in sports from April to December 2015

"When I operated in England as player and manager, it was far more regular than that. I know they probably have more resources and staff to do it.

"While I don't think there'll be a huge problem, it's important to keep on top of things like that, to keep that as a deterrent with more testing.

"I think if you take your eye off the ball with any issue - and certainly you've seen it in other sports, it's really relevant at the minute. I don't think we should ever get blase and complacent with that.

"I don't think it's a huge problem, that there should be a big panic about it but we don't know if there's not much testing."

Stubbs agrees, adding: "I was a bit surprised by the number that was put out.

"I think the most important thing with the way sport over the world is going, in football we don't want any accusations or anyone pointing fingers.

"If we can keep this sport as clean as we possibly can, I think it's better for everybody."

Of his experience in English football, Stubbs recalled: "We didn't know when they were coming.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila in training
Celtic manager Ronny Deila said testing in his native Norway was more frequent

"It wouldn't surprise me if we did somewhere between probably eight and 12 in a season, just out of one club."

Like McInnes and Stubbs, Celtic manager Ronny Deila does not believe drug misuse is a major problem in football.

However, he added: "At the same time, it has to be clean and fair and some tests are important to have of course.

"If you don't find anything, it's no reason to increase all the testing, but if you start to see tests that say this is happening in football then of course you have to increase them.

"I haven't seen in my time in football something about this - there's been one occasion in maybe a million."

Deila had experience of testing as a player and manager in his native Norway before joining Celtic.

"I think it's more in Norway," he said, although he pointed out that his present players had been subject to testing during European competitions "where there's more testing than there is here in Scotland".