Football Not Doing Enough To Fight Against Doping, Says WADA Chief

Speaking at the WADA Media Symposium in London, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency said football authorities are still not doing enough testing for the banned blood booster EPO.

John Fahey said football should make more efforts in its fight against doping and his organization would be on hand to support that cause. He added that football authorities are not testing enough for Erythropoietin and WADA encourage them to do more and they should also be using intelligence and not just more tests to prevent doping in football.

The WADA president expressed his dismay at the refusal of the sport to adopt the Athlete’s biological passport as part of its weaponry in the fight against doping and went on to question the effectiveness of the current protocols of the game. He continued that more tests are a good deterrent factor and could be an effective way to catch but argues that the Athlete`s Biological Passport is a very effective tool and adding that would make them more effective.

A few days, former Real Sociedad president Inaki Badiola claimed the Spanish club made payments for banned substances between 2001-2007 although this has been denied.

The director-general of Wada, David Howman, cited the example of Major League Baseball for football to follow. The MB conducts more tests than many national anti-doping agencies and baseball players are subjected to four substance tests every year. On the other hand, top-level footballers and other players of team sports can go an entire career without encountering a single blood test.

Last month, the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung claimed that the Bundesliga could not afford blood testing for its players despite annual turnover topping €2 billion last year. Fahey remarked that he can understand that anti-doping tests cost money and some sports have the capacity to pay much easier than other sports and he can only encourage all of them to see why this must be a priority to ensure the integrity of their game.

The president of the world anti-doping agency also emphasized the importance of non-analytical evidence in the global doping fight and said high-profile cases involving Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong were not primarily dependent on blood and urine analysis but on testimonies and investigations. He said we are not in the business of reacting to rumor and nor is any other anti-doping agency and one has to be obviously careful with the information received. Fahey also remarked that WADA gets anonymous information frequently at its headquarters on a daily basis and it ensures that the appropriate body is given that information to follow up, and one has to act on facts. The WADA chief some senior tennis players have remarked they were not tested terribly on a regular basis and tennis and football can do more.

Fahey’s mandatory maximum six-year term as the president of WADA ends this year and the former premier of New South Wales who also played a key role in Sydney’s successful bid for the 2000 Olympic Games says he had no intention of returning to front-line Australian politics.

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