A Russian footballer who played in the English Premier League for more than four years has claimed that competitors in all sports involving repetitive movement, including cycling, must be doping.
Andrey Arshavin, who played for Arsenal between 2009 and 2013, is reported to have said that cyclists can not compete without the aid of performance enhancing drugs, as well as claiming that the decision to ban certain Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics as a result of the damning McLaren report was fuelled by politics.
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Arshavin apparently toldIn my opinion, all cyclic sports are doping. It’s simply impossible without doping. That means swimming, skiing, cycling. I think everyone dopes.”
He added that doping wasn’t rife in team sports, this despite rugby players being the most common athlete currently banned by the UK Anti-Doping.
“[There is doping] in football and hockey – to a lesser extent. In football, you cannot predict. In team sports, there’s very little doping,” he said.
Arshavin, who has previously written a book called 555 Questions and Answers on Women, Money, Politics and Football, also appeared to suggest that he sympathised with those who dope, citing limited opportunities to improve their financial state.
“For them [non-footballers], this is the World Cup and European Championship for footballers. We have every two years, with good players, earning good money at clubs, and they have the reverse.
“[They have] almost one or two chances in life to get an apartment, a normal premium… Of course I understand them, they are not in the best condition now.”
He added that the consequences of the McLaren report which unearthed a regime of systematic doping in Russia, including making 26 positive cycling tests disappear, was influenced by politics.
“Russia is paying for its political decisions, including in sport. Is it fair or unfair? Life isn’t fair. Of course, this is a great tragedy for the athletes, especially the Olympians,” he said.