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Monday 21, Sep 2015

  Doping Suspicions In Football Dismissed By UEFA

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European soccer body UEFA has dismissed the notion that the use of performance enhancing drugs could be common among top footballers. The governing body of football in Europe made this comment after a study, which was published in a monthly science journal this month, showed a high number of suspicious testosterone levels.

This study was based on 4,195 urine samples taken mainly from players who featured in the Champions League between 2008 and 2013. Results of the samples were analyzed by scientists from 12 anti-doping laboratories in Europe. No “B” samples were taken, UEFA said and the governing body also said no additional analysis was conducted to confirm whether the high testosterone levels were due to doping or not.

The UEFA-commissioned study disclosed that high testosterone levels were found in urine samples of 7.7 percent of 879 players involved in the Champions League, Europa League, and two European Championships between 2008-13 who were tested by researchers and these high testosterone levels could indicate the use of anabolic steroids. This research was never publicized by UEFA and it came to light in a report by German broadcaster ARD on Sunday. However, UEFA did announce that steroid use by players was being added this season to its biological passport program.

Commenting on the research, UEFA said the study simply shows that the introduction of steroidal biological passport in football would be beneficial by offering further analysis possibilities in case of atypical test results. The European soccer body also added it has had a very thorough anti-doping program for many years with over 2000 tests a year and only two occurrences of positive tests, both for recreational drugs, which proves that doping in football is extremely rare.

UEFA also said this study does not present any scientific evidence of potential doping in football especially due to the presence of confounding factors, the lack of standardization procedures among the 12 laboratories, and the quantification of steroid profiles when the samples were collected. It added there was an inability to perform a second analysis as required now by the WADA international standards for laboratories.

The soccer body also said the study simply shows that the introduction of steroidal biological passport in football would be beneficial by offering further analysis possibilities in case of atypical test results and also remarked it has now implemented a new steroid profiling program which has come into operation at the start of the 2015/16 season. Players in UEFA competitions, including Euro 2016 and the Champions League, will give more than 2,000 urine or blood. UEFA also said players who could be selected for the 24-team European tournament in France can be tested from January. It also said the program will boost the already strong deterrent effect of UEFA’s testing program, as it will help better detect the effects of doping over time, thereby complementing existing direct anti-doping testing.

Recently, FIFA and UEFA medical committee chairman Michel D’Hooghe said doping control and the fight against doping is an absolute top priority both for the medical commission of FIFA and UEFA. D’Hooghe also added UEFA wants to start with pre-tournament out-of-competition doping control, blood as well as urine, precisely with the intention of controlling all the players and to establish a biological passport for all of the players.

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Friday 16, Aug 2013

  Blood Doping Tests Introduced By Bundesliga

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Blood Doping Tests Introduced By Bundesliga

In an effort to step up their fight against doping in football, the German Football League (DFL) and the German Football Association (DFB) have decided that football professionals will face blood tests after Bundesliga games.

According to UEFA’s league coefficient ranking, the Bundesliga is one of the top national leagues, currently ranked 3rd in Europe. This professional association football league in Germany is contested by 18 teams and all of the Bundesliga clubs qualify for the DFB-Pokal while the winner of the Bundesliga qualifies for the DFL-Supercup. In this number one football league in the world in terms of average attendance, FC Bayern Munich has won the Bundesliga 22 times. Founded in 1962 in Dortmund, the turnover of the league in the 200-10 season was €1.7bn, broken down into match-day revenue (€424m), sponsorship receipts (€573m) and broadcast income (€594m). The Bundesliga out of Europe’s five major football leagues (Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, and Ligue 1) has the lowest ticket prices and the highest average attendance.

The blood doping tests will be introduced by the German Football League when the league kicks off on August 9. Rainer Koch, the chairman of DFB’s anti-doping commission, said, the agreement with Nationale Anti Doping Agentur (NADA) is about to be finalized. German Football Federation (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach said it is the right signal that even before we have results that we are implementing blood controls starting in the new season. League chief executive Andreas Rettig said we want to open ourselves up and carry out tougher controls even though we don’t have any indications that they are necessary. Reinhard Rauball, the president of the German football league, remarked Bundesliga players will undergo blood tests for the first time this season although no exact starting date has been agreed.

These efforts are seen by many as a positive step after the recent publication of a report pointing to government-sanctioned doping by athletes in the former West Germany. However, German Football Federation president Wolfgang Niersbach remarked that the Bundesliga decision to do blood doping tests was made before the study was published and the German Football League managing director Andreas Rettig saying that Bundesliga wants ‘stricter controls’ although it has ‘no indication’ of doping.

The study revealed a letter from a FIFA medical officer from the 1960s saying a West German athletics official reported that three players had traces of ephedrine, a banned stimulant, after the World Cup final in 1966. However, the doping claims have been vehemently denied by star players from that era, including the West German 1966 captain. Uwe Seeler said he thinks nothing of doping and added he didn’t doped and he didn’t know anybody who did.

In the past, Manfred Höppner, head of the East German sports medicine department, levied allegations against the Dynamo Berlin and 1. FC Lok Leipzig of doping. At that time, Höppner remarked a test revealed high traces of Amphetamine and Methamphetamine in thirteen of nineteen Dynamo players, administered only 2–3 days before, when both teams traveled abroad for European Cup matches in October 1983.

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Saturday 16, Feb 2013

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

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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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