The British government has ordered an inquiry into the way the country's anti-doping agency handled allegations that a British doctor prescribed banned performance-enhancing drugs to leading sports people.The Sunday Times reported that Dr Mark Bonar prescribed banned drugs to 150 sports figures including several Premier League footballers. The paper said Dr Bonar claimed his "clients" included an England cricketer, British Tour de France cyclists, a British boxing champion, tennis players and martial arts competitors as well as footballers. In the past six years he had treated more than 150 sportsmen from the UK and abroad with banned substances such as erythropoietin (EPO), steroids and human growth hormone, and the performance improvements were "phenomenal", the report added. The Sunday Times said that during a series of meetings with undercover reporters, Bonar had spoken about people he had treated. The newspaper also sent a sportsman to Bonar's clinic, who recorded his appointments with a hidden camera. Neither the newspaper nor Reuters was able to substantiate the claims made by the doctor. Premier League football clubs Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester City as well as second tier club Birmingham City issued statements on Sunday denying the allegations made by the newspaper. UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), Britain's anti-doping agency, said it was "deeply concerned and shocked" by the Sunday Times report. UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said the body had been aware of allegations against Bonar after a sportsperson approached them two years ago but had not been able to act upon them because he was not affiliated to any particular sport. "Under current legislation, UKAD has the power only to investigate athletes and entourage (including medics) who are themselves governed by a sport," she said. UKAD had considered informing the General Medical Council, which overseas medical practitioners in Britain, but decided the evidence they had was insufficient for such a referral, Sapstead added.
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