The governing body of soccer, FIFA, will be conducting surprise doping tests of all World Cup players at least once beginning in March. It will also set up biological passports for identifying possible irregularities in blood and urine samples, according to FIFA chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak.
Dvorak remarked all players and teams should be tested unannounced between March 1 and the World Cup opener in June. Dvorak also said from now on every player competing in the FIFA World Cup Brazil could be tested at least once, at any time, in any part of the world.
In a news conference, the FIFA chief medical officer said the medical staff of FIFA will decide before gamers whether drinking breaks will be used during the World Cup in Brazil. Dvorak also said the governing body of soccer is not overly concerned with the heat during matches in the jungle city of Manaus that will the host to matches by England, Italy, Portugal, and the United States. Dvorak said we don’t think the conditions in Brazil will be as difficult as people are saying and added we can introduce extra water breaks and provide players with cold towels where necessary, but that’s a medical decision that will be judged on a case by case basis, before each game, by our team of health professionals.
The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be the first World Cup where the soccer's governing body will be using biological passports that are helpful in detecting illegal substances from changes in a player's blood profile. The governing body will also be using a urine profiling technique to detect the presence of anabolic androgenic steroids.
In a statement, FIFA said it is developing plans to introduce this new tool, including a steroid profile through urine and a blood profile, for the Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup Brazil, where in and out-of-competition tests would be conducted on all participating players. The governing body in 2011 introduced a pilot project for capturing individual steroid profiles of players with tests on the participants at the World Club Cup in Japan. FIFA said 178 out-of-competition tests were conducted in 2011 and 184 at the same tournament in 2012 and added it was developing a new initiative, hormonal profiling project, in co-operation with the WADA-accredited laboratory in Switzerland. In the FIFA statement, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey remarked we are very interested in continuing the work on biological profiles and added WADA is very satisfied with the commitment of FIFA on the biological profiles. He also remarked that there is always more which can be done in the fight against doping, but we know FIFA has always been serious in this domain.
Michel D'Hooge, head of FIFA's medical committee, said FIFA was the first international organization for team sport to start with longitudinal profiles. He added we have been testing this at the World Club Cup in 2011 and 2012, we will continue at the Confederations Cup 2013 with blood testing unannounced at training camps and games and remarked it is our commitment to have all players participating at the 2014 FIFA World Cup having biological profiles.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger, manager of English Premiership side Arsenal, said the sport needed more blood tests. Wenger remarked it is very difficult for me to believe that at a World Cup, where you have 740 players, you come out with zero problems and yet mathematically that is what happens every time.