Fifa keeps sharp eye on doping ahead of World Cup

About 320 footballers will be tested for doping before the 2010 Fifa World Cup kicks off in June.

As of March 22, Fifa’s medical team will conduct out-of-competition doping tests (of both blood and urine samples) on all the 32 participating nations. Without notice, eight players from a team will be randomly selected during their national team’s friendly matches or training camps.

Tests will also be conducted in training camps between April 10 and June 10.

This was revealed by Jiri Dvorak, Fifa’s chief medical officer, who was speaking on Monday at the third international football medicine conference, held in Sun City.

“During the World Cup, two players from one team will be selected randomly after a match. We have a strict strategy to fight doping and we take the fight against doping very seriously and are committed to continuing it in full compliance with the Wada [World Anti-Doping Agency] code. The teams have confirmed their full compliance in this regard,” said Dvorak.

The physicians representing the 32 teams participating in the football showpiece signed a joint declaration pledging their full support for Fifa’s anti-doping strategy, as well as for the implementation of the pre-competition medical assessment (PCMA) to prevent injuries.

According to a Fifa statement, since 2006 the Fifa PCMA has been recommended as an effective means of detecting possible underlying cardiac diseases and thus avoiding tragedies such as the death of Marc-Vivien Foe during the 2003 Confederations Cup.

Victor Ramathesele, the 2010 local organising committee chief medical officer, said: “Together with the government we have to provide medical services to teams, players, and the fans at fan parks, and when they move around between the cities on match days. We also want to ensure that no one brings diseases to the country. We want people to enjoy themselves when they come here.”

More than 33 000 doping controls have been conducted over the years, resulting in only 0,03% positive cases, according to Fifa.

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Lucky Sindane
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