How The Sunday Times broke the latest doping story

David Collins of their Insight team chats to Off The Ball about it all came together

How The Sunday Times broke the latest doping story

Image: The Sunday Times

Over the weekend, the world of sport was forced to confront yet another potential doping scandal as football was this time implicated.

David Collins is deputy editor of The Sunday Times' Insight team which broke the story which saw Dr Mark Bonar filmed talking about providing certain treatments to athletes. 

On tonight's Off The Ball, Collins joined Joe to explain how the whole report came about starting with the whistleblower. 

"What happened with the whistle-blower, basically he's a cyclist," he explained.

"He doped with this doctor over a period of about 12 months. He did EPO, human-growth hormone, testosterone which are all banned and very dangerous drugs to use if you don't need them for medical reasons and what happened is the testers went, knocked on his door and asked for a sample and he refused to give that sample and UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) say 'you're going to be banned and your name is going to be published'. What he did and what all sportsmen can do if they get caught for something like this is you can turn into a witness effectively."

Thus the whistleblower offered information on doping in his sport and on Bonar.

But Collins said UKAD "did nothing with the information", other than a quick investigation which came to a conclusion that they had no jurisdiction to investigate further.

"We think that is completely bonkers," said Collins, who explained how The Sunday Times team have been setting about proving the claims.

"We have taken the view that [Bonar] is entirely credible because we know that because of the whistle-blower, we know it because of our undercover athlete and the programme that he offered. He is an expert doping doctor and we made clear in the story that it is a claim."

On the football angle of the story, Collins pointed to the aspect in the story where Bonar claimed to have treated past or current players from Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester City and Birmingham City - an assertion denied yesterday by all four clubs.