London-based anti-ageing doctor Mark Bonar has been under suspicion for two years and in an undercover operation, the 38-year-old doctor claims to have had a network of “secret clients” which included footballers from Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester City.
Despite Bonar’s claims, the report was quick to add they have no independent evidence that he treated the players, none of whom are named in the report.
“In the past six years he has treated more than 150 sports people from the UK and abroad variously with banned substances such as erythropoietin (EPO), steroids and human growth hormone, and the sports performance improvements were phenomenal,” the report said.
Bonar told the reporters that the athletes knew about his services through word of mouth. “I don’t really advertise… I don’t want that media scrutiny that kind of (thing), you know, coming down on you,” he said.
Britain’s sports minister John Whittingdale said he was “shocked and deeply concerned” by the allegations.
“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,” the culture, media and sport secretary said in a statement.
“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 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.”
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have retorted immediately.
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.”
Chelsea said: “The claims The Sunday Times put to us are false and entirely without foundation. 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.”