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Football 'not doing enough' in doping fight, says WADA president

Goal.com
Football 'not doing enough' in doping fight, says WADA president
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Football 'not doing enough' in doping fight, says WADA president

The president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) says that football authorities are still not doing enough testing for the banned blood booster EPO.

John Fahey, speaking at the Wada Media Symposium in London, told Goal.com football should do more in its fight against doping and his organisation would be on hand to assist that cause.

"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 also 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 continued. "Why isn't football using it? They can. And in my view, it would make them more effective."

Last week, it was claimed by former Real Sociedad president Inaki Badiola the Spanish club had paid for banned substances between 2001-2007 although this has been denied.

The director-general of Wada, David Howman, cited Major League Baseball as an example for football to follow. MLB conducts more tests than many national anti-doping agencies and baseball players are subjected to four substance tests per year. Top-level footballers and other players of team sports, on the other hand, can go an entire career without encountering a single blood test.

Prohibitive costs have been cited as one of the reasons why more widespread anti-doping procedures are not in place around football. Last month the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung claimed that the Bundesliga could not afford to blood-test its players despite annual turnover topping 2 billion euros last year.

"I recognize all of this costs money," said Fahey. "And I suspect that some sports have the capacity to pay much easier than other sports. I can only encourage all of them to see why this must be a priority to ensure the integrity of their game."

Fahey also emphasized 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 rumor. 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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