Football accused of lagging behind in the war on drugs by head of world ant-doping watchdog

There is not enough testing in football

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.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent