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Main » 2013 » February » 13 » Wenger's call to get tough backed by anti-doping chiefs

Wenger's call to get tough backed by anti-doping chiefs

ARSENE WENGER has been backed by anti-doping chiefs in his call for tougher drug testing in football.
World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey says football must test more for blood-boosting drug EPO.

And Fahey called on the game to follow sports like cycling by making players have biological passports, which would flag up suspicious changes in body chemistry.

Fahey said: "I saw some examples recently in tennis, where senior players were saying they were not tested terribly regularly. I would say tennis can do more, as can football.

"I simply say this about football — they are not testing enough for EPO. They can do more and we encourage them to do more.

"While testing is a good deterrent factor and may be an effective way of catching people, I would argue the athlete biological passport is a very effective tool. Why isn’t football using it?”

Wenger said last week: "I don’t think we do enough. It is difficult to believe you have 740 players at the World Cup with zero problems.

"UEFA’s doping control do not take blood, they only take urine. I have asked many times for that to change.”

An FA spokesman insisted: "We operate one of the largest and most comprehensive drug testing and education programmes in the world.

"This includes both urine and blood tests, while the FA regularly tests for EPO.

"We also conduct blood testing for Human Growth Hormone and run a blood-profiling programme.”

FIFA, who will host WADA officials in Zurich tomorrow insists it is improving systems for rooting out cheats.

Football’s world governing body says it is working on plans for all players at this year’s Confederations Cup in Brazil and the 2014 World Cup to give urine and blood 
samples to create biological profiles.

Of 662 tests carried out in FIFA competitions last year, 95 were for EPO.

Last month an unnamed Peruvian player was provisionally suspended as a result of a positive drugs test after a World Cup qualifier in Bolivia in October.

Outside of FIFA competitions, it is down to individual associations and anti-doping authorities to conduct tests.

According to WADA’s own figures, 28,587 tests were carried out in football in 2011 and only 119 were positive.

Just 19 players were caught using anabolic steroids, five of them from the North 
Korean squad at the 2011 Women’s World Cup where the results were blamed on 
"traditional Chinese medicine”.

But many, including Arsenal boss Wenger, believe cheats could be avoiding detection because football’s testing programme is not thorough or strict enough.

UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Andy Parkinson said: "We need to work together to ensure that tests are effective by being targeted and, where possible, intelligence-led.

"Anti-doping programmes in any sport need to be unpredictable to deter anyone tempted to performance enhance and detect those trying to cheat the system.”
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