Messi, Neymar included in FIFA anti-doping trials

Lionel Messi and Neymar will take part in a new anti-doping

program to trial a biological passport in football, FIFA said on

Thursday.

All players set to be involved in the seven-team Club World Cup

next month will give samples beforehand to help laboratories

prepare their individual steroid profiles.

Players then selected for anti-doping controls in the Dec. 8-18

tournament in Japan will have their results measured against

out-of-competition tests taken up to one month earlier.

”(FIFA) recently reviewed the current drug-testing procedures

within football and come up with a new approach,” the governing

body said in a statement. ”The main, new aim will be to capture

players’ individual steroid profile.”

FIFA announced the pilot project as the competition draw

featuring the six continental champions and the host nation’s

league winner was made in Nagoya, Japan.

Teams including Barcelona, the European champions containing

Messi, and Brazilian club Santos, the South American winners

featuring Neymar, will have to provide details of their whereabouts

for testers to collect samples.

”Every club will be required to provide FIFA with accurate

details of their team activities (matches, training schedule etc.)

during the period from Nov. 14 to Dec. 8,” FIFA said.

While FIFA launched the passport program, a Real Madrid team

doctor said on Thursday that football should do away with

in-competition doping controls, labeling them ”ineffective” due

to football’s set calendar.

”In-competition controls don’t achieve anything,” Dr.

Francisco Morate Besuita told a Madrid Science Week conference on

doping. ”If a player wants to cheat and has something in his

system before a game, then all he has to do is appear to be injured

and he will be kept out of the team.”

Besuita said more out-of-competition testing would be more

effective since football’s heavy and set calendar made it difficult

for players to use performance-enhancing substances.

FIFA medical officials consulted the International Cycling

Union, which pioneered the biological passport in sports as a more

efficient and effective method in the fight against doping.

The UCI repeatedly takes riders’ blood samples to measure the

effects of doping rather than test for banned drugs.

FIFA’s worst case of steroid use in recent years involved North

Korea players at the Womens’ World Cup in June.

North Korea was kicked out of the 2015 event and five players

were banned for 14 to 18 months after testing positive for

steroids. The North Koreans’ excuse was they were treated with a

traditional musk deer gland therapy after being struck by lightning

at a pre-tournament training camp.

The Club World Cup lineup also includes African champion

Esperance of Tunisia, Asian champion Al-Sadd of Qatar, Mexico’s

Monterrey representing CONCACAF and New Zealand’s Auckland City

from Oceania. The J-League title race is still undecided.