Messi, Neymar included in FIFA anti-doping trials
Lionel Messi and Neymar will take part in a new anti-doping
program to try a biological passport in soccer.
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, FIFA said Thursday.
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 during the draw in Nagoya,
Japan, that featured the six continental champions and the host
nation’s league winner.
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 Thursday that soccer should do away with in-competition
doping controls, labeling them ”ineffective” because of soccer’s
”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 soccer’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 Women’s 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 said 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.