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Coaches sure of A-League's integrity

Both Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold and Wellington Phoenix counterpart Ricki Herbert are confident the competition is clean of doping

GOAL.com Indonesia   By HAMISH NEAL


Both coaches in the first A-League fixture since the release of the Australian Crime Commission's report on Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport have expressed confidence with the drug-testing procedures in place in the competition.

Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold said he had "never seen" doping in his coaching career.

Speaking after the Mariners' 5-0 win on Thursday, which sent them six points clear at the top, both Arnold and Wellington Phoenix mentor Ricki Herbert expressed shock at the news.

"I have been watching it all day," Arnold said.

"It's been a shock."

Arnold confirmed he had not come across drug-taking in his career in the sport which includes 23 years in coaching.

"I can say that I have not been around any performance-enhancing drugs in my whole time as Socceroo coach, Socceroo assistant, and international football," he said.

"I have never seen anything in the club environment here at the Mariners."

Arnold said the club have a solid structure in place which included hiring "good people" and checking their relevant background in the area of sports science.

"Andrew Clark [Mariners' head of sport science] has been through university, he has got a university degree," he said.

"We regularly talk to the players and make them aware of what you can and can’t take all the time.

"With performance-enhancing drugs it's a big no-no," he said.

Arnold said responsibility was important.

"You can't control players with social drugs because you can't be with them 24 hours a day. You expect their professionalism and their character to be that of a professional athlete."

Herbert was similarly shocked at the news.

"It was just something [the coverage of it] that jumped out off the television," he said.

”I think the people in the A-League will deal with that from a professional point of view.

“We follow all the policies and procedures.”

Herbert confirmed his players had regular, random drug tests.

"We are getting a couple of boys tested tonight. If there are things that need dealing with I'm sure the right decisions will be made there too [by the A-League],” Herbert said.

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