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WADA seek stronger action in football

SoccerNews in English Premier League 12 Feb 2013

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World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey has called for football to do more in the fight against doping.

Performance-enhancing drugs have been thrust into the spotlight in the last 12 months, with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong dominating the headlines after admitting to systematic doping.

A high-profile court cases is underway in Spain following the Operation Puerto investigation into organised doping in cycling, while former Real Sociedad president Inaki Badiola has claimed the La Liga club purchased banned substances between 2001 and 2007.

And Australian sport has been rocked by a national crime commission investigation uncovering widespread instances of doping in various domestic sports, chiefly rugby league and Australian rules football.

Fahey, speaking at the Wada Media Symposium in London, told Goal.com football must step up its efforts to combat doping and said his organisation would be on hand to assist.

“They are not testing enough for EPO,” Fahey said.

“They can do more and we encourage them to do more. They should use intelligence and not just more tests.”

Fahey expressed his dismay at football’s refusal to adopt the Athlete’s Biological Passport as part of its weaponry in the doping fight and questioned the efficacy of the game’s current protocols.

“More tests is a good deterrent factor and may be an effective way of catching but I would argue that the Athlete’s Biological Passport is a very effective tool,” he said.

“Why isn’t football using it? They can. And in my view, it would make them more effective.”

Fahey also emphasised the importance of non-analytical evidence in the global doping fight. The high-profile cases involving Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong were not primarily dependent on blood and urine analysis but on testimonies and investigations.

“We’re not in the business, nor is any anti-doping agency, in the business of reacting to rumour. You have to be obviously careful with the information you get,” he said.

“On the other hand, on a daily basis, we get frequently anonymous information at our headquarters and we ensure that the appropriate body is given that information to follow up – so we don’t ignore it. But one has to work on facts.

“Wherever it is in the world, more can be done. Some senior tennis players say they were not tested terribly regularly. I’d say tennis can do more. Football can do more.”

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