Biological Passport For Every World Cup Player Under Preparation By FIFA

FIFA, the world governing body of football, is on an ambitious mission these days to ensure that every player who participates in the Football World Cup has a drug test and carries a ‘biological passport’.

For the first time, the governing body is planning to use the biological passport that will follow players throughout their career, offering details about urine and blood tests. A team of FIFA doctors and nurses since March this year have been carrying out random urine and blood tests at internationals and team training camps. A few weeks ago, France and Argentina were visited at their camps to prepare for the tournament. Some of the most eminent football stars including Brazilian star Neymar, Italian captain Gianluigi Buffon, and Spain’s Andres Iniesta were among those who provided samples at last year’s Confederations Cup. Over the last 18 months, stars from Chelsea, Barcelona, Santos, and Monterrey were tested during international club competitions.

In a recent interview, Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer remarked that we can test anybody, anytime, anywhere, any amount of times. Football players can now expect drug testing right from the first matches of the World Cup which starts June 12. Dvorak added there has not been anything alarming so far and said the hematological parameters are normal. FIFA has collected at least two test samples from most players while some players have given as many as four samples. Dvorak went on to add that they understand what we are doing and they consider that kind of examination as part of their professional life.

FIFA tests loom for discrepancies in hemoglobin and red cells that may indicate the use of EPO doping or use of other banned performance enhancing drugs such as anabolic androgenic steroids to improve performance. The world governing body of football also checks hormone levels and steroids in the urine. However, Dvorak acknowledged that the drug testing logistics in Brazil face difficulties. The World Anti-Doping Agency withdrew its accreditation for the only anti-doping laboratory in Brazil last year. FIFA will send urine and blood samples to a laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland, which will add $250,000 (180,000 euros) to the doping clampdown costs.

The primary cause of concern is that there will be a race against time to get samples from far-flung World Cup cities such as Manaus in the Amazon and Fortaleza as blood samples must be analyzed within 36 hours of being drawn. Dvorak remarked there are a few games that are difficult but the majority of the samples will arrive at the laboratory between 24 and 48 hours. The chief medical officer of FIFA said some of the matches are critical, the critical matches we will look at very carefully.

Football has rarely seen declared cases of performance enhancing doping with the biggest doping case coming from Argentina star Diego Maradona who was sent home from the 1994 World Cup after he tested positive for the stimulant ephedrine. According to FIFA.com, the world body’s website, cannabis and cocaine have made up the majority of drug failures in football in recent years.

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