No Systematic Doping In Football, Says FIFA

FIFA, the world governing body of football, has remarked that it believes most positive doping tests are because of social drugs. The governing body made this comment following on from the results of the 2013 WADA testing figures. It added there is no systematic doping culture in football and a majority of the positive tests are individual cases usually involving recreational drugs.

No Systematic Doping In Football, Says FIFA

Recently, it was revealed by 2013 World Anti-Doping Agency testing figures that there were 28,002 doping controls carried out in 2013 with 140 Adverse Analytical Findings (AAF) and 270 Atypical Findings (ATF) that required a results management process. A FIFA spokesman said we are confident that there is no systematic doping in football and no systematic doping culture in football and added there are approximately 30,000 sampling procedures in football every year, more than any other sport.

The spokesman added there are individual cases of doping, as shown by the results published by WADA, but most positive cases are for so-called social drugs like marijuana and cocaine and a few for anabolic steroids, but these are individual cases. This contradicts a remark by FIFA chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak (writing in April's British Journal of Sports Medicine) that there is an "urgent need" for changing detection strategies in football.

Between 2005 and 2012, the number of doping tests in football increased roughly by 50 per cent but the number of Adverse Analytical Findings (AAF) remains much the same. The football's governing body remarked that federations and even entire nations may fear total transparency because of the potential exposure to a doping culture and harming reputation. FIFA meanwhile admitted that absence of even a single case of recombinant EPO doping in football could be due to "imperfect testing" procedures. In 2013, about eight per cent of doping controls were for EPO. Blood and urine procedures for EPO detection were introduced by FIFA at the 2002 World Cup.

FIFA is confident that the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program will provide more intelligent testing besides resulting in a long-term reduction in costs over time. The overall costs of doping controls in football is about $30 million per annum and the current cost of organizing, conducting, analyzing, and managing a single doping control is around $1,000. FIFA remarked establishing the biological profile requires several samples of blood and urine so that laboratory experts and doctors can make comparisons.

It added FIFA, in collaboration with the confederations and in future with the national leagues, is currently establishing a database in order to monitor footballers during their professional career and laboratory findings from different in and out of competitions controls are stored in a central data base for comparison. It also remarked that the governing body of football started this process by testing players during the FIFA Club World Cup 2011, 2012, and 2013, and for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup all players were tested unannounced prior to the competition by giving blood and urine samples. FIFA also said the database is also enhanced by the sampling procedures obtained from UEFA during the Champions League 2013, 2014 and the Euro 2012.


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