Media Release

Federation Internationale de Football Association

FIFA Strasse 20, P.O Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland, +41 (0) 43 222 7777

New FIFA doping booklet – education just as important as sanctions

With approximately 20,000 doping tests conducted per year, no other sport is as active in this area as football. FIFA's statistics show that only 0.4% of these tests are positive, and in the main, any positive tests are for recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, as just 0.07% are for performance-enhancing anabolic steroids. "This extremely low incidence backs up our strategy, as education and explanation is just as important as imposing sanctions," said Dr Michel D'Hooghe, the chairman of the FIFA Sports Medical Committee.

FIFA's anti-doping strategy is based on education and prevention, together with regular doping tests in and out of competition. The medical department of world football's governing body will be driving this point home at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ with a new booklet called 'Fight against Doping in Football', which is aimed at players, coaches, officials, managers and the media.

The booklet gives a comprehensive overview of doping-related matters. As well as explaining the history, background and practicalities of FIFA's strategy in the fight against doping in football, the booklet also contains separate sections on the most common substances. The sections are listed according to the frequency in which substances are detected in footballers, with marijuana therefore coming first in the booklet. Other substances such as erythropoietin, growth hormone and blood doping are also covered in detail. FIFA Chief Medical Officer Jiri Dvorak, who is also the chairman of the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), said: "We have never detected erythropoietin or blood doping in football, for example, but as both substances are always cropping up in the media, we decided that it was important that we describe their effects and dangers."

Players who are injured or ill sometimes require treatment with medication that is on the list of prohibited substances, and in such cases, a request for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) can be submitted. FIFA and its member associations grant such requests most often for asthma treatment with beta-2-agonists and corticosteroids for acute conditions. As a result, the effects and side-effects of these groups of medications are also described in separate sections.

Clarification of positive test results and decisions regarding sanctions are to protect honest players, but also to punish doping offences consistently. The medico-legal aspects of FIFA's approach, such as the principle of anonymous analyses, separation of powers and individual case management, are explained in another section. The booklet also has a comprehensive glossary and list of abbreviations.

F-MARC is also publishing a comprehensive report on doping in football in the highly-respected 'British Journal of Sports Medicine', which is aimed at medical experts and team and sports doctors in particular. This journal will also be part of the teaching material in the FIFA FUTURO III educational programme for more than 3,000 doctors worldwide.

FIFA has been active in the sphere of sports medicine ever since the mid-1970s. F-MARC was founded in 1994 and its many research activities support world football's governing body in its ongoing fight against doping and injuries.