Football

Arsenal could miss out on Champions league knockout because of drug cheat

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Arsenal could be on the brink of exiting the Champions League in less than two weeks time, but Arsene Wenger will have every right to be aggrieved if they do.

When the Gunners were humiliated by Dinamo Zagreb in September, they weren't to know that they were in fact up against an alleged cheat.

Arijan Ademi, a Dinamo Zagreb midfielder, tested positive for steroids during the match in the first match day and was subsequently banned by Uefa for four years last week.  

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Yet, you would think the result would have been overturned, resulting in a 3-0 victory for the north London club. However, the rule states that because only one player tested positive it shouldn't alter the result. 

Wenger in recent weeks has been left understandably frustrated by the decision with Daily Mail reporting him as saying: "UEFA propose the rule but I do not agree with it. The result stands which means you basically accept doping. As a result we had a doping control on Friday from UEFA."

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If the match had been overturned, then Arsenal would only need to defeat the Greek side on December 9 as opposed to winning by a two-goal margin. 

Just as the footballing public has looked down on other sports such as cycling and athletics, which has been riddled with doping allegations over the last year or so, football should also be ashamed. 

Tougher action should be taken

The fact that Uefa didn't make a stronger stance on this incident is alarming in itself. Uefa said on their website on Thursday that Ademi’s four-year ban followed World Anti-Doping Agency guidance for “a first serious doping offence".

A player shouldn't be let off because it's their first time, what sort of message does that send to other players? They can get away with it if they do it once? 

Yes, this will likely be a significant punishment for Ademi, 24, as he won't return to football until he's 28, and even then, other teams might not want to take him with his reputation tarnished.

However, imagine if a player who is in their teens was only banned for four years? They would be back in their early 20's ready to compete again. 

The European footballing body should have taken much stronger action. The player should have been banned for life, and the result should have been overturned. There is no excuse to taking steroids, when he knows full well what impact that could have on his body. 

Take note of cycling and athletics

The reputation of cycling and athletics has been ruined. Spectators can hardly trust the sport knowing that many competitors could be using performance enhancing drugs. The sport may never earn that respect back.

We do not want the same happening to football. Football must stand up and take a stronger viewpoint on this sort of action before it's too late. 

On a more trivial view, people would argue Arsenal should have got the job done in the first place regardless. They have enough talent to defeat Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos, and people believe they shouldn't have too much sympathy for potentially exiting the competition. 

That is hard to disagree with, but Ademi in fact completed the joint most tackles on the pitch. If he didn't put in a reasonably good performance with the help of steroids, would the Croatian side have won? We will never know. 

What we do know is, that he shouldn't have been playing, and someone else who might not have been as good as he, should have been. 

It is only fair to award Arsenal the victory for a player who essentially should have been illegible. It was only last season when Celtic were awarded a 3-0 victory for Legia Warsaw fielding an illegible player. Why couldn't Uefa have done the same for Wenger's side? 

Uefa better hope the Gunners win by two goals in six days time, or there could be outrage from Arsenal supporters. Even then, that is still the less important issue, doping scandals should be treated much more severely in the future, or we risk having a tarnished sport. 

Do you think Arsenal should have been awarded the victory? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Topics:
Arsenal
Thierry Henry
Arsene Wenger
Premier League
Football
UEFA Champions League

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