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Blatter & Fahey discuss fight against doping

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 14 February 2013
© Foto-net

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President John Fahey and the WADA Secretary General David Howman met FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, and Chairman of FIFA’s Medical Committee Dr Michel D’Hooghe at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 14 February 2013, for a courtesy visit.

Mr. Fahey, who is in his last year of mandate, especially wanted to “thank FIFA for its progressive and productive collaboration with WADA over the years in the fight against doping.” President Blatter reiterated the “commitment of FIFA to fight against this serious threat, and our will to continue working hand-in-hand with WADA.”

One of the highlights of the discussion was the so-called biological profile, which is considered one of the best methods to detect the use of performance-enhancing drugs. FIFA is developing plans to introduce this new tool, including a steroid profile through urine and a blood profile, for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, where in- and out-of-competition tests would be conducted on all participating players.

WADA is very satisfied with the commitment of FIFA on the biological profiles, which will be run not only at the FIFA World Cup in 2014 but already at the FIFA Confederations Cup in June this year.

It comes as a new step after a pilot project started in 2011 to capture players’ individual steroid profile, with in- and out-of-competition tests on the participants at the FIFA Club World Cup. 178 out-of-competition tests were conducted on this occasion in 2011 and 184 in 2012. Furthermore, FIFA is currently developing the hormonal profiling project, a new initiative in collaboration with the WADA-accredited laboratory in Switzerland.

Mr. Fahey said: ”We are very interested in continuing the work on biological profiles. WADA is very satisfied with the commitment of FIFA on the biological profiles, which will be run not only at the FIFA World Cup in 2014 but already at the FIFA Confederations Cup in June this year.”

Michel D’Hooghe explained that FIFA is directly carrying out in- and out-of-competition tests at its own competitions (FIFA World Cups, including qualifiers). In 2012, a total of 662 Urine samples were taken at FIFA’s competitions (FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, FIFA Futsal World Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, Brazil 2014 qualifiers and Men’s and Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments. To date, there has been one adverse analytical finding at a FIFA World Cup Qualifier in October 2012.

D’Hooghe said: “In 2014, the year of the FIFA World Cup, we will be spending 2.5 million USD in the fight against doping. FIFA was the first international organisation for team sport to start with longitudinal profiles. We have been testing this at the FIFA Club World Cup in 2011 and 2012, we will continue at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 with blood testing unannounced at training camps and games. And it’s our commitment to have all players participating at the 2014 FIFA World Cup having biological profiles.”

The doping controls at FIFA World Cup qualifiers are performed randomly by FIFA doping control officers. For the 820 Brazil 2014 qualifiers, FIFA will carry out doping controls at 114 matches and collect a total of 456 samples. At these selected matches, four players are to undergo a doping control and out of those selected, one is drawn for EPO.

EPO was first tested in FIFA competitions at Korea/Japan 2002. All participants went through urine and blood testing and whenever the results were abnormal, an EPO test was performed. All results were negative.

In 2012, out of 662 tests in FIFA competitions, 95 sought to test for EPO. For competitions at national and confederation level it is the responsibility of each member association, national anti-doping agency and confederation respectively to carry out the tests. FIFA’s Anti-Doping Unit is providing support to the confederations through training and seminars. The next seminar will take place in Sao Paulo in April 2013, where Brazilian doping control officers will be trained.

In 2011, WADA, through the data provided by WADA registered laboratories, registered a total of 28,587 doping samples in football worldwide, of which 119 were adverse analytical cases (0.4 per cent). Of those, 40 cases were Cannabinoids and 19 (0,07 per cent) were Anabolic Steroids. Five of the 19 cases were Korea DPR players participating in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 who tested positive for anabolic steroids originated from ‘traditional chinese medicine’. WADA will soon provide the total figures in football for 2012.

“There is always more which can be done in the fight against doping, but we know FIFA has always been serious in this domain,” concluded the WADA President. “We think the leagues can complement what FIFA is already doing, but we came here to thank FIFA for its collaboration.”

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