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The Culture Secretary has called for an urgent investigation into the UK anti-doping watchdog after claims that it received evidence that a doctor had prescribed banned performance-enhancing drugs to 150 ‘elite’ sports stars.
John Whittingdale said he was “shocked and deeply concerned” by the report in The Sunday Times (£).
It was also claimed that the UK Anti-Doping (Ukad), the publicly-funded watchdog, was given “evidence” of the activities two years ago.
Dr Bonar is reported to have claimed to have prescribed drugs such as erythropoietin (EPO), steroids and human growth hormone, to the sports professionals, which are said to include:
- Several Premier League football players
- An England cricketer
- British cyclists
- Tennis players
The Sunday Times said there is no independent evidence that Dr Bonar treated Premier League players. It added that there is also no evidence that any clubs were aware of any wrongdoing.
The newspaper also said they had contacted athletes from several different sports who had been named by the doctor, who either denied Bonar had treated them or declined to comment.
UKAD chief executive, Nicole Sapstead said the watchdog was “deeply concerned and shocked” by the allegations made in The Sunday Times.
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In a statement, the body confirmed that it did begin an investigation into Dr Bonar but found he fell outside their jurisdiction and they did not believe there were grounds to refer the case to the General Medical Council.
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. 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.
John Whittingdale, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary
Dr Bonar denied the allegations when they were put to him by the newspaper and said he had not breached rules laid out by the GMC.
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