POSTED: May 11th 2009

FIFA 'wrong' on dope test system

War of words: FIFA president Sepp Blatter /
War of words: FIFA president Sepp Blatter /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON/TAMPA: No let-up is on the horizon in the standoff between WADA and FIFA over the ‘whereabouts’ rules which insist on star players notifying drug testers of their location seven days a week, during the season and while on holiday.

Last weekend Sepp Blatter, president of the world football federation, accused the World Anti-Doping Agency of having turned from a “service organisation” into a “police organisation.” He believed out-of-competition testing was irrelevant to the sport.

WADA president John Fahey hit back gently, but firmly, at a press conference following his organisation's executive and foundation board meetings – in which FIFA had been represented by its own medical commission chairman, Jiri Dvorak.

Fahey said: “I read with some disappointment the article in which Mr Blatter is alleged to have made a number of statements. If accurately reported – and I have no reason to believe they were not – then many were simply wrong.”

He said he hoped to raise the issues with Blatter “in the next several hours” but did not want “to conduct discussions with him in the media.” Dvorak, at WADA’s foundation board meeting, “made it abundantly clear that FIFA has no special concession on the issue of whereabouts.”

Fahey added: “There is no lex FIFA; no special law for FIFA which is different from any other sport when it comes to testing the specific aspects of ‘whereabouts.’"

The regulation that ‘whereabouts’ be implemented by all Olympic sports had been included in the revised WADA Code which had been approved unanimously – including by FIFA – and became operational last January 1.

Feedback welcomed

Fahey added: “We acknowledge that this is in its early stages, that we are now into fifth month which is not a long time and we are always interested in feedback on the practicalities.”

However he warned: “We need to ensure there has been a proper examination and application of the code before we consider whether anything should be changed.”

Fahey insisted WADA was firmly opposing a legal challenge to ‘whereabouts’ by 65 Belgian athletes. He said: “We will defend our code as we have always done and we’ve been extraordinarly successfully. One can’t ignore that people around the world sometimes have different points of view - that’s human nature.

“But I would point out that world-class athletes have been subject to ‘whereabouts’ for the best part of a decade so it’s not exactly brave new world.

“Whoever we are, there are lots of things in life which inconvenience us but, in this case, the particular rules and inconveniences are there to prove we have clean sport because the overwhelming majority of athletes want to be assured that their sport and all sport is clean.

"It’s a small price to pay.”

Keywords · FIFA · WADA · Fahey · Blatter · whereabouts

For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()

All original materials contained in this section are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Sports Features Communications, Inc the owner of that content. It is prohibited to alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.