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By ESPN Staff
Mar 25, 2009

WADA slams soccer authorities over doping reform

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has warned soccer officials that the sport runs the risk of being dropped from the Olympics if its authorities failed to recognise the reality of drugs cheats.

On Tuesday, European soccer's governing body (UEFA) joined forces with FIFA in unanimously rejecting WADA's controversial "whereabouts" rule that requires athletes to inform national anti-doping authorities of their location for an hour every day.

FIFA wants the rule to apply to teams and not individual players.

The world's governing body also says out-of-competition doping tests should take place at club training facilities and that players should not be tested during holidays, "in order to respect their private life".

The demands drew a harsh response from WADA chief John Fahey, who said in a statement that FIFA and UEFA were ignoring the reality of doping and that giving in to such concessions would take the teeth out of any serious anti-doping effort.

"One of the key principles of efficient doping control is the surprise effect and the possibility to test an athlete without advance notice on a 365 day basis," Fahey said in a statement.

"Alleging, as FIFA and UEFA do, that testing should only take place at training grounds and not during holiday periods, ignores the reality of doping in sport.

"Experience has demonstrated that athletes who cheat seize every opportunity to do so and dope when they believe they won't be tested.

"Some substances and methods disappear quickly from the body while keeping their performance-enhancing effects.

"Anti-doping organisations must therefore be able to test athletes at all times in an intelligent fashion."

WADA general secretary David Howman, who addressed the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) on Tuesday, said he was confused by FIFA and UEFA's challenge to the rule since it had been in place since January 1.

He also pointed out that no other team sports had objected to whereabouts rule.

"I know there are other team sports that don't share the same view," Howman said. "I spent the morning talking to ASOIF and there were several team sports there and they never raised the issue.

"What they (FIFA, UEFA) are saying is an attack on the system of quite some significance and if it continues we would have to report it to our board.

"I would have thought, as in all these things, common sense eventually would prevail.

"There are all sorts of consequences that are not ours to measure.

"It's in the IOC charter any non-compliant federation can be removed from the Olympic program.

"If you're going to be way out in left field you're going to be pretty lonely."

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