Lack Of Blood Testing In Football, Says WADA

The 2013 World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) testing figures have revealed that less than one per cent of all doping controls in football in 2013 came in the form of out-of-competition blood tests. The anti-doping agency also disclosed that many anti-doping authorities and national associations including Spain, Brazil, and Netherlands failed to conduct a single blood test in 2013.

Diego Maradona

The WADA figures suggest that there were 28,002 doping tests carried out in football during 2013, the vast majority of which, 21,638 (77 percent), were urine tests conducted in-competition and 287 (1.32 percent) of those urine tests were classified as either Atypical Findings (ATFs) or Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) that were subjected to a results management process.

It was further surprising to note that a small of anti-doping controls carried out by football in 2013 involved blood test, which is the most effective way to detect certain performance enhancing drugs such as Human Growth Hormone (hGH) and Erythropoietin (EPO), the blood booster. In 2013, only 667 (2.38 percent) of all football's dope tests involved blood testing and there were 173 (0.61 percent) out-of-competition blood tests conducted in all and no blood test revealed an Atypical Finding or Adverse Analytical Finding.

In football, doping controls are not carried out by WADA but by national anti-doping authorities, international governing bodies - like UEFA and FIFA - and national associations.

The Netherlands Doping Authority cited cost as the primary reason behind the lack of blood testing in football in the country. Herman Ram, the director of Dopingautoriteit, said each anti-doping organization has to work within a certain budget and has financial limitations and we, therefore, have to make choices over how to use our resources. Herman added we use a number of criteria to decide how many resources we dedicate to a certain sport and one of those criteria is the amount of tests that leads to a positive test that is a low percentage in football.

It was recently announced by FIFA's medical committee that every player tested for drugs at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil has been cleared of doping after more than 1,000 tests came back negative. Jiri Dvorak, FIFA's chief medical officer, said every player on each of the 32 competing teams - 736 players in total - had provided blood and urine samples. Dvorak added 777 out-of-competition tests were conducted between March 1 and June 11 plus another 232, four from each of the first 58 matches played in Brazil. He added we have not found any prohibitive substances, either prior or during competition.

The use of performance enhancing drugs was not widespread in the game, said Michel D'Hoogie, the chairman of FIFA's Medical Committee. D'Hoogie said he will never say there is no doping in football, but he believes there is no doping culture in football. FIFA recently introduced biological profiling of players to track changes in their blood samples.

The last time a player was caught doping at a World Cup was when Diego Maradona of Argentina tested positive for ephedrine in 1994 and was sent home in disgrace.


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