Dr Mark Bonar (pictured), who operates from a private clinic, revealed how in the past six years he has treated more than 150 British sports people
Arsenal and Chelsea have rubbished ‘false’ claims that unnamed players were involved after a British doctor claimed he prescribed performance-enhancing drugs to 150 sports stars.
London based Dr Mark Bonar, who operates from a private clinic, met with undercover reporters and allegedly revealed how he had treated sports men and women over the past six years.
They are said to include Premier League footballers, an England cricketer, British Tour De France cyclists, a British boxing champion, tennis players and martial arts competitors.
Dr Bonar has denied the allegations, which appeared in a report by the Sunday Times and says he had not breached rules laid out by the General Medical Council.
The newspaper said Dr Bonar claimed to have players from Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester City and Birmingham City among former patients but added: ‘Despite Bonar’s claims, The Sunday Times has no independent evidence Bonar treated the players.’
This morning, all four clubs rubbished the claims.
The Sunday Times report also claimed a former Chelsea fitness coach Rob Brinded had ‘collaborated’ with Dr Bonar but it is understood that Mr Brinded categorically denies the allegation.
‘The claims The Sunday Times put to us are false and entirely without foundation,’ said a Chelsea statement.
‘Chelsea Football Club has never used the services of Dr Bonar and has no knowledge or record of any of our players having been treated by him or using his services.
‘We take the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in sport extremely seriously and comply fully with all anti-doping rules and regulations.
‘Chelsea FC players are regularly and rigorously tested by the relevant authorities.’
In a response to the Sunday Times article, Mr Brinded said he had not referred any athletes to Dr Bonar and had never worked with nor collaborated with him. He added that ‘to the best of my knowledge’ none of his own clients take performance enhancing drugs.
The Culture, Media and Sport Secretary John Whittingdale said he was ‘shocked and deeply concerned’ by the reports
Arsenal said: ‘Arsenal Football Club is extremely disappointed by the publication of these false claims which are without foundation. The Sunday Times knows that these allegations are baseless but has preferred to publish regardless. The club takes its responsibilities in this area very seriously and our players are well aware of what is expected. We strictly adhere to all guidelines set by the World Anti-Doping Agency.’
There is no evidence any of the clubs were aware of any alleged link the doctor might have had with their players.
Leicester said this morning: ‘Leicester City Football Club is extremely disappointed that The Sunday Times has published unsubstantiated allegations referring to players from clubs including Leicester City when, on its own admission, it has insufficient evidence to support the claims.
‘Leicester City follows robust and comprehensive anti-doping protocols to ensure its full compliance and that of its players with all anti-doping rules and regulations.’
I have asked for an urgent independent investigation
Culture, Media and Sport Secretary John Whittingdale
Birmingham City told MailOnline it ‘has not used the services of Mark Bonar’ and ‘has no knowledge or record of any of our players, past or present, doing so.’
‘These claims are baseless and there is no independent evidence to back them up.
‘Birmingham City takes the issue of drugs in sport very seriously and the Club abides by the guidelines set by all the relevant regulatory bodies.’
Responding to the report, the Culture, Media and Sport Secretary John Whittingdale said he was ‘shocked and deeply concerned’ and has called for an urgent investigation into the British anti-doping watchdog.
It was reported the regulator received claims the doctor had prescribed banned performance-enhancing drugs to a sportsman.
According to The Sunday Times, UK Anti-Doping (Ukad), the publicly-funded watchdog, was given ‘evidence’ of the activities two years ago.
Mr Whittingdale said: ‘Sports fans are entitled to be sure that what they are watching is true and fair with all athletes competing on a level playing field.
‘I have asked for there to be an urgent independent investigation into what action was taken when these allegations were first received and what more needs to be done to ensure that British sport remains clean.
The doctor allegedly claimed he had treated Premier League footballers, an England cricketer, British Tour De France cyclists, a British boxing champion, tennis players and martial arts competitors
‘There is no room for complacency in the fight against doping and the Government is already looking at whether existing legislation in this area goes far enough. If it becomes clear that stronger criminal sanctions are needed then we will not hesitate to act.’
UKAD officials confirmed they received information from the sportsman, however the body said the doctor fell outside their jurisdiction and they did not believe there were grounds to refer the case to the GMC.
UKAD chief executive, Nicole Sapstead said the watchdog was ‘deeply concerned and shocked’ by the allegations.
She acknowledged that UKAD had received allegations involving Dr Bonar in April and May 2014 during interviews with the sportsman, who has not been named.
‘Following those interviews and an investigation, UKAD found that there was nothing to indicate that Dr Bonar was governed by a sport and UKAD had no other intelligence to corroborate the sportsman’s allegations,’ Ms Sapstead said.
UKAD recommended the sportsman gather more information and pass it on to the GMC, the doctors’ regulator, ‘if appropriate’.
In October 2014 the sportsman supplied UKAD with ‘handwritten prescriptions’ that he said had been issued by Dr Bonar.
UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead (pictured) said she was concerned by the allegations
The notes were given to an independent medical expert for analysis.
‘After assessing all the evidence, as per the National Intelligence Model, UKAD did not believe that there were grounds, at that point, to refer the case to the GMC,’ Ms Sapstead said.
UKAD chairman David Kenworthy said an independent review of the allegations against it would be conducted ‘as soon as possible’, to examine the information passed to them in 2014 and to discern if the proper procedures were followed.
‘UKAD is a publicly funded body and it is correct that it be held to account for any actions it takes. That accountability rests with the independent board,’ he said.
The watchdog said it would not comment any further on the issue.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said: ‘These are serious allegations and we will follow them up as a matter of urgency. We expect all doctors to follow our guidance – if they fail to do so they are putting their right to practise in jeopardy.
‘Dr Bonar does not currently hold a licence and is therefore unable to practise medicine in the UK.
‘Any doctor without a licence who continues to carry out the privileged duties of a doctor is committing a serious breach of our guidance, and potentially a criminal offence.’
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