FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 - a doping-free celebration of football
The FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 (30 June-22 July) was a doping-free celebration of football, as no positive tests were produced in the 52 matches of the competition. As per the FIFA Doping Control Regulations, lots were drawn to determine the two players per team per match who were to provide urine samples for testing, and a second random draw was conducted to decide which of these four samples from each match would also be tested for erythropoietin (EPO). In total, 208 urine samples were analysed and screened for prohibited substances by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, with 52 of them also being tested for EPO, and there were no positive results.
In the lead-up to the event, the FIFA Sports Medical Committee and the FIFA medical office discussed the possibility of conducting blood testing with experts from the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne (Switzerland). The consensus was that, for individual samples, current blood testing technology would not have offered any more information as a test matrix than urine analysis. Therefore, as was the case for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, FIFA decided not to use blood testing in Canada.
"The cooperation of the players and the team officials has been excellent," said FIFA Sports Medical Committee member Rudy Gittens, who acted as both FIFA and Local Organising Committee General Medical Officer. "Some of these young players were being tested for the first time, so we explained the procedure to them and answered all their questions regarding doping," he added.
This kind of on-site education of players by FIFA doping control officers, all of whom are qualified physicians, is a very important part of FIFA's anti-doping strategy, which focuses on education and prevention. This year, the FIFA medical office has published a great deal of information on this subject primarily for players in the All About Doping section of its official website.
The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, invited as an observer to the matches in Ottawa, stated that FIFA's procedure is a model for cooperation between leading international sports federations and established anti-doping organisations. "The athletes' respect and professionalism during the doping control mirrored the same qualities that FIFA exemplifies as an international federation," wrote Joseph de Pencier, Director of Ethics & Anti-Doping Services/General Counsel, in a letter of appreciation.
Since 1994, 4,183 samples have been tested during FIFA competitions, with 4 positive cases (a 0.1% incidence rate), three of them in FIFA final competitions and one in a qualifying match for a FIFA competition.