Alexis Sanchez allegedly missed a drugs test on Monday while completing his move to Manchester United, according to reports.
Sport originally claimed Sanchez was due to have a blood test performed by UEFA.
The Chilean was in Manchester on Sunday to complete his move, and Liverpool on Monday to finalise his work permit.
As a result, he missed the test.
UEFA denies they sent any blood testers for the 29-year-old, so at least that part of the story appears to be false. What is more likely, is that the player and club failed to notify the FA that Sanchez would miss training.
According to the FA rules: “If you are not going to be at a training session or are leaving early or arriving late, you must notify The FA. Notify The FA in advance of the training session, or before you leave if you are leaving early.”
These ‘whereabouts’ regulations saw Manchester City fined £35,000 last year. The league leaders failed to ensure their whereabouts information was correct on three occasions in a year.
The punishments for players are much more harsh.
Three whereabouts failures in 12 months could result in a two-year ban for the individual in question. There’s no data available on whether this is Sanchez’s first, second or third strike. Presumably we would’ve heard about it earlier if this happened before though.
In the Premier League, it’s the player’s responsibility to update his own whereabouts details (via Daily Mail). In general, the club must provide details for training sessions and which players will train with which squad.
Since the violation occurred after a Premier League match and before a League Cup game, it’s unclear which of these categories the violation falls under.
The media asked Arsene Wenger about the situation in his press conference. The Arsenal boss initially said he didn’t know whose fault it was, but admitted the Gunners were probably still responsible for the player:
“On Monday there was a lot going on, it is a special day for Alexis Sanchez – you have do paperwork and travel. Was he still our player on Monday or not? You don’t know. I think it is a special event for him to miss a drugs test because he was somewhere else.
“Honestly, on the administration side it would still be our responsibility because he had not moved. I don’t know what really happened.”
Wenger didn’t seem too worried either way though:
"I'm quite relaxed because we have nothing to hide here, we always try our best to cooperate with doping control.
The intention of Alexis was not to hide – and we have nothing to hide."
— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) January 26, 2018
Hopefully he’s right not to be concerned. We should know more in the coming days, and when Mourinho next speaks to the press.
Manchester United and the FA declined to comment further when asked. Sky Sports contacted UEFA for their comments but did not receive a reply by the time they published their article.