Football under Elimination Threat from Olympic CircleGiving a new spark to WADA’s new code, football could face Olympic axe if its chief bodies, FIFA and its European counterpart UEFA, do not meet the terms of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) “whereabouts” code.

WADA wants the sport to join athletics against steroid abuse fight by providing players’ location for one hour each day of the year for doping test procedures. However, FIFA and UEFA said that they wanted to respect players’ privacy and did not accept that controls be undertaken during the short holiday period of players.

Wada general secretary David Howman said, “The sport could be removed from the Olympics.” He also added, “There is a clause in the IOC (International Olympic Committee) charter that states this – it falls in the IOC jurisdiction and not ours.”

In a teamwork effort to fight against doping, FIFA and Uefa asked Wada to reconsider its position on the ‘whereabouts’ rule. The governing bodies wanted to point out the fundamental differences between an individual athlete, who trains on his own, and a team sport’s athlete, who is present at the stadium six days out of seven, and thus easy to locate. Because of that, FIFA and UEFA wanted to replace the individual ‘whereabouts’ rule by collective location rules.

President of Wada, John Fahey responded, “One of the key principles of efficient doping control is the surprise effect and the possibility to test an athlete without advance notice on a 365-day basis. Alleging that testing should only take place at training grounds and not during holiday periods, it ignores the reality of doping in sport.”

However, Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who sits on Wada’s board, said that football’s world governing body had teamed up with other team sports, such as basketball, ice hockey and rugby union, to oppose the rules. “We are a little bit surprised that through certain declarations [Wada] say there will be no exceptions made,” he said.

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) had already signalled their opposition to the WADA’s new code of doping.

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