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The Toe Poke

Xavi: Doping not an issue in football

Barcelona star Xavi Hernandez has told that he welcomes improved doping controls but does not believe it is an issue in football.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey said in February that football was not doing enough to test for EPO, and FIFA announced soon afterwards that it was stepping up its anti-doping measures and intends to use biological profiling at the Confederations Cup and World Cup.

Spain international Xavi, while expressing full support for the governing body's plans in light of the well-publicised issues in other sports, said he is confident that nobody is using performance-enhancing drugs in football.

"I very much approve of those kinds of tests," he said. "It is a pity but doping is very prevalent - not in football but in sport in general - so for me every kind of prevention or control is good. People have to be healthy, sport has to be healthy and so it's good there are this kind of controls."

He added: "I'm sure there's none [doping] in football. I've never experienced it. In 15 years I've not seen it at Barcelona, nor with the national team nor anywhere else, but you still need to take a very tough line with this."