Football accused of lagging behind in the war on drugs by head of world ant-doping watchdog
There is not enough testing in football
Tuesday 12 February 2013
Football must do more to combat the threat of performance enhancing drugs, according to the head of the world's anti-doping watchdog. John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, warned that neither football nor tennis are conducting enough tests or using broader intelligence to effectively fight a menace the Australian believes is "on the rise" again.
Fahey's views were furthered by David Howman, Wada's chief executive, who feels the Premier League must implement more widespread testing. Fahey held up baseball in the United States, where every Major League player is tested four times a season, as an example of a programme that should be more widely adopted.
While cycling's authorities have attracted a flood of criticism for what Fahey termed their "inept" attempts to deal with the fallout from the Lance Armstrong affair, he stressed all sporting bodies have to be more forthright in fighting the problem.
"Whatever the sport, wherever it is in the world, more can be done," said Fahey. "I saw some examples recently, in tennis, where senior players were saying they were not tested terribly regularly. I would say tennis can do more, as can football.
"Football is not testing enough for EPO. They can do more and we are encouraging them to do more. And use intelligence, not just tests. We now know the athlete's biological passport is a very effective tool. Why isn't football using it?
EPO boosts an athlete's endurance and is one of the most widely used drugs by dopers. Its presence is detected via urine tests but, according to Wada, tests for EPO are not done regularly enough in football. Fifa have released figures for 2012 – it conducted 662 tests at their own competitions of which "95 sought to test for EPO." Football's governing body also said it had "plans for a biological profile".
Howman used the example of baseball, a sport recently dogged by doping controversies, as one that has put in place a wide-ranging doping programme. He said: "Major League Baseball now do more testing and are doing more analysis of more substances than many international sports federations. Each baseball player on the roster of a Major League team is tested four times a year.
"If you transfer that approach to the Premier League, and ask whether every player in the Premier League had been tested four times in a year, I think we all know what the answer is. Team sports players can go their entire career without being tested once. That's an initiative by MLB that ought to be taken up by others."
Last week, Arsène Wenger called for wider testing in football, while the issue was also highlighted through the trial of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes in Madrid. So far only cyclists have been named in conjunction with the trial, but Fuentes is known to have helped other athletes dope, including, it is claimed, a number of footballers.
More than 200 bags of blood have been seized as evidence. Fuentes knows the identity of all the athletes whose bags are held but the judge has so far refused to insist he name them. Wada's lawyers are still pushing for the names to be revealed. "Sport deserves to know who those blood bags belong to," said Fahey.
Spain's anti-doping agency is already investigating claims by a former president of Real Sociedad last week that its players used performance-enhancing substances.
Latest in Sport
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Real Madrid striker fuels speculation he will join Gunners with cryptic Instagram post
Chelsea vs Barcelona: what channel is it on and how can I watch it?
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Arsene Wenger hits back over Jose Mourinho's claims 'buying success' ahead of Community Shield
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool – highest and lowest transfer spenders revealed
Outraged Vietnamese fan burns Manchester City tickets after being snubbed by Raheem Sterling, Samir Nasri and others
- 1 Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
- 2 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 3 Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
- 4 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 5 Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband