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Tuesday 16, Feb 2016

  Algerian Football ‘In Chaos’ After Doping Scandal

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Algerian football has been rocked by allegations of widespread drug-taking after the suspension of international Youcef Belaili and three other top-division players.

Belaili was banned by the Confederation of African Football for a period of two years from national and international football. The 23-year-old USM Alger midfielder admitted the charge and waived his right to have his B sample tested, according to an announcement by the Algerian Football Federation (FAF).

Some of the other players received suspensions for up to four years or are undergoing investigation. However, all the players have denied taking illicit substances and some claim that they were under the impression that they were taking vitamin supplements.

Doubts are raised over the future of football in Algeria after the latest controversy. Algeria was the North African country to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

A recently-concluded media investigation has hinted that corruption was prevalent in Algerian football clubs because of a lack of consistent regulations. A damning report by London-based Al-Arabi al-Jadid on January 27 revealed the four recent cases are not unique. The report highlighted 10 other instances where Algerian players tested positive for drug use since 2013. The report revealed information passed on by an employee at a nightclub in trendy western Algiers that players allegedly buy and use amphetamines and other drugs and frequented the club to let off steam and get amphetamines and other drugs, which they believe will enhance their performance on the pitch.

Algeria’s El-Khabar newspaper was told by medical experts that the football industry in the country was in “chaos” since no doctors have been assigned on a regular basis to clubs and management of the clubs was too “centralized” that opens the door for corruption.

The Algerian Football Federation, in its defense, said it will enforce stringent testing for performance-enhancing and social drugs. It further requested that football clubs should supply training schedule information so that regular monitoring of players can be undertaken. However, El-Khabar described these measures as only “cosmetic” and inconsistently enforced.

Drug use among players was attributed by an article in Algeria’s French language daily El-Watan to disproportionately high salaries coupled with lack of maturity of young players.

The Algerian government and Algerian football federation have been blamed by sports commentators and fans in Algeria.

Criticizing the campaign in the press, Algerian football commentator Hafid Derradji said Belaili was fully responsible morally, legally, and as a sportsman. Derradji also commented that responsibility should be accepted by sports journalists for allegedly creating the problem by justifying the behavior and feeding his ego.

A number of newspapers in Algeria went on to recall allegations of systematic and involuntary doping in the past, after the children of a number of players in the national team that reached the 1982 and 1986 World Cups were born with severe disabilities. The investigation has yet to take place and Algerian authorities have prevented themselves from commenting on the allegations. One of the affected players, midfielder Mohamed Kaci-Said, has remarked doubts persist until an inquiry has been opened and the truth told.

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Tuesday 23, Apr 2013

  Anzac League Test May Get Disrupted With Doping Tests

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Anzac League Test May Get Disrupted With Doping Tests

If the Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority requests interviews with players in the Kiwis and Kangaroos teams, the preparations for the Anzac Day test in Canberra could be disrupted for both sides.

Meanwhile, Rugby League International Federation chairman, New Zealander Scott Carter, admitted that he has concerns about the World Cup could be affected by players serving bans during the tournament. The members of the playing teams are presently under doubt and a potential cloud hangs over both camps in their preparation as the Australian Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) has begun its interview process with the 31 NRL players it claims breached anti-doping regulations during the 2011 season. The anti-doping agency, based in Canberra, has already issued several infraction notices, calling players in for extensive interviewing.

There is a possibility that some of the Kangaroos players may be caught up in the investigation, Coach Tim Sheens admits but said that he is retaining a solitary focus on getting his side ready for the Anzac Day test in Canberra. Sheens added that he is not going to worry himself about it and would go on to concentrate on preparing the team and also remarked that the team will address anything adverse at the same time if that happens. The Kangaroos coach also remarked that we have only got a short preparation, so his aim at the moment is to get the team ready and worry about other things.

It is rumored that Kiwis back rower Jeremy Smith is one of the players in the spotlight of the Australian Anti-Doping Agency as he was at Cronulla Sharks in 2011, the team and year ASADA is most concerned about. The player is certain to be named in the New Zealand side but New Zealand Rugby League CEO Phil Holden says he is unaware of any Kiwi players that Asada needs to talk to and said he is not aware of any of the details around it or if any of his players have been contacted and if someone had to be interviewed it would have an impact on them on a personal level.

Many believe that there still remains the possibility of players receiving bans that would take them out of contention for the World Cup, which begins in October. Meanwhile, the prospects of BBC securing the broadcasting rights for the World Cup in the UK and huge exposure during the tournament and open up the game to new markets in Britain outside its powerbase in the north of England may get damaged if Australia and the Kiwis are missing any top stars due to bans for taking illegal performance enhancing drugs.

The bottom line is that any international or national body would be concerned if there were drug issues, especially if they were widespread and whether it’s a national team or a World Cup, nobody would want it tarnished by marquee players missing, Rugby League International Federation chairman, New Zealander Scott Carter, said. He added that the ASADA issue is an interesting one because everyone is still waiting to see whether this is an issue as big as it has been hinted at or not and to date, there is no reason to suspect there would be wholesale decimation of national sides.

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Sunday 23, Sep 2012

  US Soccer Goalkeeper Accepts Public Warning

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US Soccer Goalkeeper Accepts Public Warning

U.S. national team goalkeeper Hope Solo received a public warning from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after testing positive for the banned substance Canrenone in a urine test. The 30-year-old accepted the warning and was still made a part of the United States soccer team in the Olympic tournament.

In a statement, Solo said she took a medication that was prescribed by her personal doctor for pre-menstrual purposes and she was not aware of the diuretic properties of the medication. She added that she immediately cooperated with USADA as soon as she was informed of this fact and using the medication was an honest mistake. U.S. Soccer also issued a statement to express its support for the goalkeeper and said it fully cooperated with USADA during the disciplinary process.

Canrenone is classified as a specified substance and its presence in the sample of an athlete can result in a reduced sanction. It is marketed under the brand names Contaren and Luvion and an aldosterone antagonist with additional anti-androgen properties that is used as a diuretic in Europe. It is prohibited under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) anti-doping rules, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”) and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Hope Solo published her best-selling autobiography Solo: A Memoir of Hope after the 2012 London Olympics, where she received her second Olympic gold medal. The autobiography debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times hardcover non-fiction best seller list, which is the highest ever for a soccer book.

Born in Richland, Washington on July 30, 1981, she scored 109 goals, leading her team to three consecutive league titles from 1996–1998 and a state championship in her senior year and switched to the goalkeeper position at the University of Washington. Solo’s senior debut came in an 8–0 win over Iceland at Davidson, North Carolina in April 2000 and she was named in the Olympic team in 2004. She was an important part of the U.S. women’s team that won the gold medal by defeating Brazil 1–0 in extra time at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. During the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she won the “Golden Glove” award for best goalkeeper and the “Bronze Ball” award for her overall performance and featured in the “All-star” team of the tournament.

Considered one of the world’s top goalkeepers, Hope Solo has been the regular U.S. keeper for nearly six years. She famously criticized the move of Coach Greg Ryan during the 2007 World Cup in China when Ryan benched her against Brazil for veteran Briana Scurry, a hero of the 1999 world champions. The United States was routed 4-0 and Solo said leaving her behind was a wrong decision. This prompted Ryan to dismiss her from the world Cup team and the keeper was not allowed on the bench for the third-place game and flew back home from China on her own. After this controversy, Pia Sundhage took over as coach and Solo has remained her top goalkeeper ever since then.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: US Soccer Goalkeeper Accepts Public Warning

Wednesday 20, Jun 2012

  Most Under-17 World Cup tested positive

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A majority of the players tested at the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico had traces of clenbuterol in their bodies, according to FIFA that added positive tests were because they ate contaminated meat.

FIFA medical officer Jiri Dvorak termed the results as “highly surprising” but insisted that teenage footballers were not cheating.

“Since day one we knew the players were innocent and we are happy with this result,” Justino Compean, the Mexican Football Federation president.

Monday 18, Jun 2012

  109 of 208 soccer players tested positive

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During the Under-17 FIFA World Cup held in Mexico in July, 109 of 208 soccer players tested positive for clenbuterol, according to a revelation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Some farmers in Mexico still illegally use clenbuterol for bulking up cattle even though it is abanned substance that can cause an increase in aerobic capacity.

WADA issued a statement asking all athletes in Mexico to “exercise extreme caution with regards to what they eat and where they eat.”

Thursday 19, Jan 2012

  FIFA given anti-corruption roadmap

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World football’s tainted governing body, FIFA, must institute radical changes to help avoid future scandals, according to an eminent anti-corruption expert.

FIFA has been mired in corruption allegations surrounding the appointment of World Cup host countries and Joseph “Sepp” Blatter’s fourth presidential term election.

Mark Pieth, an experienced Swiss anti-corruption expert and recently appointed chairman,  released his initial findings that uncovered a series of weaknesses in the way FIFA is governed that leave the organization open to corruption.

Sunday 15, Jan 2012

  Messi and Neymar in anti-doping trials

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Lionel Messi and Neymar will participate to try a biological passport in soccer in a new anti-doping program.

All players set to be involved in the seven-team Club World Cup next month will be providing samples beforehand to help laboratories prepare their individual steroid profiles, FIFA said.

“Every club will be required to provide FIFA with accurate details of their team activities (matches, training schedule etc.) during the period from November 14 to December 8,” FIFA said.

Thursday 05, Jan 2012

  Kabaddi WC most dope-tainted event

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According to the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), New Delhi, the ongoing Kabaddi World Cup has earned the dubious distinction of being the most dope-tainted sporting event.

About 25% of the total samples have turned out positive at the NDTL.

Doping was most common in contact sports, including kabaddi. “However, the main reason for the high doping percentage is that kabaddi is an unregulated sport and there is low level of awareness among players and coaches,” Dr Beotra said.

Monday 02, Jan 2012

  Matildas’s Olympic reprieve hopes dashed

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Matildas’ hopes of a London Olympic reprieve have been dashed after Australia’s calls to have North Korea banned from the tournament over a doping row fell on deaf ears.

The women soccer team of Australia narrowly missed a 2012 Olympic berth after finishing third at the Asian qualifying tournament in September behind Japan and North Korea.

“WADA has carefully considered the award relating to all the sanctions handed out by FIFA to the North Korea women’s team,” a WADA statement said.

Monday 19, Dec 2011

  Countries with clenbuterol problem should be banned from hosting

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A serious threat to world sport was posed after an astonishing 109 footballers taking part in this summer’s Under-17 World Cup tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid clenbuterol after eating contaminated meat.

No action against any of the affected players was taken by FIFA and the WADA because of the “compelling evidence” that tainted meat was to blame but this seems like a bias as 22 year-old British sprint hurdler Callum Priestley, who is serving a two-year ban after testing positive for clenbuterol while on an official UK Athletics training camp in South Africa in 2010 was accused for failing to prove his innocence.

It would be better if countries where there is a proven problem need more than a WADA health warning and barred from hosting any major international sporting events until they can correct things at their end.

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