Drugs scandal: British doctor claims he doped 150 athletes
Premier League footballers and international sports stars caught up in allegations
British sport has been thrown into turmoil after a doctor was secretly filmed describing how he had prescribed banned performance-enhancing drugs to more than 150 athletes, including Premier League footballers and international stars.
An investigation by the Sunday Times alleges that Dr Mark Bonar charges athletes thousands of pounds for illegal drugs. His clients are said to include top-league footballers, an England cricketer, British Tour de France cyclists, a boxing champion, tennis players and even contestants on Strictly Come Dancing.
He allegedly admitted prescribing prohibited drugs including steroids, human growth hormone and EPO.
"The truth of the matter is drugs are in sport," Bonar was filmed telling an undercover reporter. "What I do is I prescribe responsibly and I try to keep my patients the optimum level of normal."
Bonar "denied he had given drugs to improve the performance of athletes, which would be a breach of the General Medical Council's rules, insisting that he was simply treating a medical condition", says The Independent.
The private clinic he worked for "said it fired him on Friday after it discovered he does not have a licence to practise medicine in the UK", reports the Daily Mail.
UK Anti-Doping (Ukad), which is charged with making sure sport in Britain is clean, admitted it was aware of claims against Bonar after an accusation from 2014.
"Ukad says it did begin an investigation into Bonar but found that he was outside of its jurisdiction as he was not governed by a sport, and decided not to pass the case to the General Medical Council," says the BBC.
John Whittingdale, the Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, has called for an independent investigation to look into the watchdog. Its chief executive, Nicole Sapstead, has faced calls to resign.
Bonar's admission "raises serious questions about the competence of Ukad", says the Sunday Times. The body has been chosen to investigate allegations of doping in Russian and has also been tasked with overseeing the worldwide effort to stamp out the use of banned drugs ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer.
With leaked emails suggesting Sapstead was aware of the allegations against Bonar but failed to take action, Lord Moynihan, the former sports minister, said her position appeared "untenable" and called for Ukad to be suspended from its duties.
Yesterday, three Premier League clubs named by Bonar issued statements strongly denying the "false" allegations. Arsenal said it was "extremely disappointed" by the publication of the claims, while Chelsea and Leicester both said they were "without foundation".