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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
FA to launch EPO test
Arsene Wenger
The Football Association is to introduce a test for the banned drug erthropoietin (EPO) in response to drug claims by Arsenal's Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners manager said tests on some new players at Arsenal suggested they had used EPO - perhaps unknowingly - before moving to Highbury.

An FA spokesman said: "We will be testing for EPO in the near future.

"We'll conduct 1,600 tests in the course of the season. The FA has always wanted to lead the way against doping."

The FA, though, hit back at suggestions it had failed to introduce a urine test for EPO sooner because of the prohibitive costs and sophisticated nature of the testing equipment.

"The FA wants to be leading the game in the fight against doping and cost issues would not be the overriding factor," said the spokesman.

Wenger raised his fears about EPO in a debate on European integration in Brussels.

The drug helps increase the red blood cell count, therefore increasing the body's ability to carry oxygen and improve endurance.

The FA gave Charlton defender Mark Fish special dispensation to take the drug to aid his recovery from an accident in which he fell through a glass table.

In May, he said: "I was on the super-drug EPO. It was medical reasons why they got me on to it and they had to get permission from the FA.

"I have stopped now, because I have got my blood count up to normal, but it did help. Without the aid of that, who knows where I would have been?"

Wenger reveals drugs fear
08 Oct 04  |  Arsenal
Fifa warning for FA
08 Oct 04  |  Football

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