Doping team visits Bayern as FIFA tests top stars

FIFA is creating blood and urine profiles of the world’s top
players with unannounced visits by an anti-doping team to clubs
like Champions League winner Bayern Munich, ensuring the stars are
under scrutiny ahead of next year’s World Cup.

A FIFA anti-doping team visited the training ground of European
champion Bayern last week, FIFA chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak
said on Thursday at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in
South Africa.

”After two hours we had blood and urine samples and all the
players collaborated,” Dvorak told The Associated Press.

Dvorak also said FIFA is working on the logistics of its ”Plan
B” regarding the drug-testing of samples at the World Cup, which
will have to be flown all the way to Switzerland because there will
not be a WADA-accredited laboratory in Brazil during the
tournament. Dvorak said FIFA is aiming to test player samples in
Lausanne, Switzerland 14-24 hours after they are taken from a
player at a stadium in Brazil.

”Now we are confronted with that situation, we have to deal
with that,” he said.

The tournament in Brazil in 2014 will be the first World Cup
where FIFA uses the athlete biological passport, the system that
helps detect illegal substances from changes in a player’s blood
profile. FIFA also will be one of the first federations to
introduce the new urine profiling technique to detect steroids,
announced as ready to go as an addition to the biological passport
by the World Anti-Doping Agency this week.

”That means examination of the blood parameters, including
hormones and EPO in the blood, and examination of urine for the
steroid profiles,” Dvorak said.

It’ll cost FIFA close to $1 million to introduce the profiling
for the World Cup, he said. He declined to say how much it would
cost to transport the anti-doping samples from Brazil to
Switzerland.

The new steroid-detecting urine process will be used in Brazil
after football’s worst case of steroid use in recent years came at
the 2011 Women’s World Cup. Five North Korean players were banned
for 14 to 18 months after testing positive for steroids and North
Korea’s team was kicked out of the next tournament in 2015.

Although FIFA has generally stayed clear of doping scandals at
the World Cup, at least four players failed drug tests during the
2014 World Cup qualifiers and a Tahiti player tested positive for
the banned stimulant tuaminoheptane at the Confederations Cup in
Brazil.

Dvorak said the unannounced visit to Bayern Munich was part of
FIFA’s process to build profiles of players. The world body has
created blood profiles for 600-700 of the top players, he said.

”Last week we were examining the Bayern Munich team,” he said.
”We arrive unannounced in the morning to the training session. All
the players were there, even the injured players. This is
fantastic. We received the approval of the medical team to go ahead
… (and) the approval of Pep Guardiola, the manager of the
team.”

Dvorak said Barcelona, Chelsea, Monterrey and Santos have also
been profiled, starting with stars like Lionel Messi and Neymar
when they competed at the 2011 Club World Cup.

Ramping up its anti-doping controls ahead of the World Cup, FIFA
will ensure that every country that qualifies for the finals will
have its players profiled through blood and urine tests in the six
months leading up to tournament kickoff next June. Those results
will be compared with their profiles when they are at the
tournament.

Follow Gerald Imray at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP