Anti-doping body slams Fifa and Uefa

GENEVA - World anti-doping chief John Fahey yesterday accused Fifa and Uefa of ignoring reality after they rejected rules that ease out-of-competition drugs testing of individual footballers.

GENEVA - World anti-doping chief John Fahey yesterday accused Fifa and Uefa of ignoring reality after they rejected rules that ease out-of-competition drugs testing of individual footballers.

"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," the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) president said.

"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."

Since the beginning of January, the world anti-doping code requires elite athletes to give notice of their location on a chosen one-hour period each day, seven days a week.

"WADA was surprised and concerned to read the statement issued on March 24 by the world and European football governing bodies, Fifa and Uefa, in relation to universally harmonised whereabouts requirements that took effect on January 1, 2009," Fahey said.

Football's world and European governing bodies on Tuesday formally rejected the 'whereabouts' rule, arguing that team sport players should be treated differently.

Fifa and Uefa had stressed "the fundamental differences between an individual athlete, who trains on his own, on the one hand, and a team-sport athlete, who is present at the stadium six days out of seven, and thus easy to locate, on the other hand."

"Fifa and Uefa therefore oppose the individual 'whereabouts' rule, and want to see it replaced by collective location rules, within the scope of the team," the footballing bodies said.

But WADA retorted yesterday that the code endorsed by its executive committee last May - including by representatives of team sports - had already accommodated football's demands. - Sapa-AFP

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