Football’s World and European governing bodies have given the thumbs down to the latest code of conduct proposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
In a move designed to bring football in to line with other sports such as athletics, WADA wanted football to adopt its ‘whereabouts’ code where players have provide the agency with details of their movements for at least 1 hour a day.
However in a response that has shocked WADA and will doubtless less than impress other sporting bodies, Fifa and Uefa rejected the idea saying that they wanted to “respect players’ privacy.”
Their joint statement read:
Fifa and Uefa do not accept that controls be undertaken during the short holiday period of players.
Fifa and Uefa want to draw attention to the fact that, both on a political and juridical level, the legality of the lack of respect of the private life of players, a fundamental element of individual liberty, can be questioned.
Every year, the footballing world organises between 25,000 and 30,000 doping controls and is committed to fighting doping in football with all of its means.
In a spirit of collaboration in the fight against doping, Fifa and Uefa therefore ask WADA to reconsider its position on the ‘whereabouts’ rule.”
Wada responded by saying it was “surprised and concerned” by the attitude of Fifa and Uefa.
Their President, John Fahey, said:
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, as Fifa and Uefa do, that testing should only take place at training grounds and not during holiday periods, ignores the reality of doping in sport.
Experience has demonstrated that athletes who cheat seize every opportunity to do so and dope when they believe they won’t be tested.
Some substances and methods disappear quickly from the body while keeping their performance-enhancing effects. Anti-doping organizations must therefore be able to test athletes at all times in an intelligent fashion.
Wada stakeholders have recognised this reality, and the feedback we have received from the overwhelming majority of other sports, but also from athletes and all those who support doping-free sport, strongly contradicts Fifa’s and Uefa’s stance.