There is no place for doping in sport today and FIFA is continuously striving to keep football free from doping and lead by example to safeguard the future success and sustainability of football around the world. Member associations and confederations are key collaborators in the global fight against doping.
FIFA introduced regular doping controls in 1966 to ensure that the results of matches in its international calendar were a fair reflection of the strength of the contenders. FIFA was therefore one of the first international sports governing bodies to acknowledge the problem and introduce active measures to combat it.
FIFA works hand in hand with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) in the much-needed worldwide collaboration to protect the health of athletes and the spirit of fair competition to better coordinate efforts for a more efficient global testing strategy, ensure the harmonised applications of the rules and provide adequate education to all stakeholders.
FIFA’s strict Anti-Doping Regulations establish the provisions for testing and sanctions, which apply to all football competitions worldwide. The Regulations are in line with WADA’s World Anti-Doping Code, “the core document that harmonises anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organisations and among public authorities around the world.” One of the main pillars of FIFA’s anti-doping strategy is prevention through education. Information sessions on anti-doping are conducted during the final tournaments of all FIFA youth competitions and players are encouraged to take FIFA’s anti-doping knowledge test.
In 2015, FIFA launched its 11 rules to prevent doping posters to raise awareness among young athletes, coaches, doctors, trainers and parents about the dangers and consequences of doping. In addition, FIFA has created an online educational tool and FIFA’s Show Doping the Red Card information brochure is distributed to all players in FIFA competitions to help raise awareness of anti-doping matters and inform people about FIFA’s anti-doping regulations and procedures.
FIFA directly handles the anti-doping programmes for all FIFA competitions, so any player participating in a FIFA competition may be required to undergo a doping control at any time. FIFA collects both blood and urine samples as well as screening for substances such as erythropoietin (EPO) and human growth hormone. FIFA adopts a no-advance notice testing policy for both in- and out-of-competition testing.
To conduct anti-doping tests in and out of competition, FIFA has a network of trained doping control officers (DCOs) around the world, who are all medical doctors. New DCOs follow FIFA’s in-depth training programme and all DCOs are subject to regular audits by the FIFA Anti-Doping Unit to ensure a high standard of procedure and uniformity. All analysis of the samples is carried out in WADA-accredited laboratories.
Anti-doping controls at confederation and national levels are directly handled by the confederations, the member associations (MAs) and/or the national anti-doping agencies. FIFA makes sure that the MA and confederation Anti-Doping Regulations are in line with ours by overseeing the result management at different levels of football, including potential appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
FIFA embraces the latest recommendations and research to enhance its testing procedure and to strengthen its fight against doping. The Athelte’s Biological Passport (ABP), including haematological parameters and urinary steroid profile was launched in 2013 ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup. Any abnormalities in the ABP may indicate a potential abuse of performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids or hormones and/or the manipulation of blood.
Therapeutic use exemptions
Athletes may have illnesses or conditions that require them to take particular medication. If the medication an athlete is required to take to treat an illness or condition happens to fall under the Prohibited List, a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) may give that athlete the authorisation to take the needed medicine.
The WADA Code enables the athlete and doctor to make this application if it is necessary for treatment to be applied using drugs or methods that are on the prohibited list.
According to WADA statistics, football is the sport with the highest number of collected doping samples: approximately 30,000 samples per year on average. The total annual number of samples collected and analysed in football allows the calculation of the incidence of positive samples. In total, football shows a low overall incidence of positive samples – well below 0.45% over the years (2011 – 0.42%, 2012 – 0.40%, 2013 – 0.30%, 2014 – 0.21%, 2015 – 0.24%, 2016 – 0.29%).
In 2016, 33,227 doping tests were performed in football worldwide. According to the FIFA doping control database, 97 samples (0.29%) tested positive as shown in the following table.
FIFA directly handles the anti-doping programmes for all FIFA competitions and sets the anti-doping regulations that apply to all football competitions worldwide. Anti-doping controls at confederation and national levels are directly handled by the confederations, the member associations and/or the national anti-doping agencies, while FIFA oversees the result management, including potential appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Here is a report of doping tests directly performed by FIFA in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Tests were performed in competition (IC) and out of competition (OOC).