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FA 'improves' drugs testing procedures.


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http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/7721593.stm

 

Home drugs test idea upsets PFA

Football and drugs - generic graphic

 

The players' union is opposed to the idea of footballers having to undergo testing for drug use in their homes.

 

One player per team is tested after each match but in future 30 players may undergo a further five tests a year.

 

As with British Olympic athletes, they must reveal their location for an hour each day, including summer holidays.

 

"We feel to invade the privacy of a player's home is a step too far," said Professional Footballers' Association (PFA)A chief executive Gordon Taylor.

 

"If we complain about anything to do with drug-testing people think we might have something to hide, but football's record is extremely good and there has been a virtual absence of any performance-enhancing drugs over decades.

 

"We do appreciate that football is a major spectator sport and we wish to co-operate, but football should not be treated in the same way as individual sports that do have a problem with drugs, such as athletics, cycling and weightlifting.

 

"For most of the year, the whereabouts of players is always known - either at their training ground or matches."

 

 

HOW NEW TESTS WILL WORK

Expected to be introduced in July 2009

A testing pool of 30 players selected by UK Sport and the FA

Players must say where they will be for one hour each day in advance

Players can alter their location up to a minute before the hour in question

Two-year ban if a player misses three tests

The tests aim to bring football into line with the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code, which requires football to align itself with the testing initiatives of Olympic and other team sports such as rugby and cricket.

 

UK Sport, the agency that funds Olympic sport and runs Britain's anti-doping programme, claims that the "whereabouts ruling", in which locations are disclosed by athletes in advance, has been working well in other sports for years.

 

John Steele, UK Sport's chief executive, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "This move is really getting whereabouts into the professional soccer game, to bring them in line with other athletes and continue the fight against doping across all our sports.

 

"Anything we can do that furthers that battle is very positive."

 

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand received an eight-month ban for failing to attend a drugs test at the club's Carrington training ground in 2003.

 

And former Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Bosnich was sacked by the club and awarded a nine-month ban in the same year, having tested positive for cocaine.

 

Another Chelsea player, Adrian Mutu, was suspended by the Football Association for seven months in 2004 after failing a drugs test.

 

 

MATT SLATER BLOG

Our footballers should be held to the same standards as our Olympians

 

The practice of declaring an athlete's whereabouts for an hour each day in advance, to allow drugs tests to be administered at short notice, is common to Olympic sports such as cycling and athletics.

 

All British Olympians, regardless of their sport, were subject to similar tests and restrictions in the build-up to the Beijing Games and the same rules will apply to footballers.

 

According to the the FA, that means any player missing three drugs tests will be subject to a two-year ban under current regulations.

 

Sprinter Christine Ohuruogu incurred a year-long ban from her sport in 2006 when she failed to turn up in her stated location, missing anti-doping testers on three occasions.

 

She also received a lifetime ban from the Olympic Games but the suspension was later overturned on appeal.

 

While Olympic athletes are now familiar with the routine, footballers may not take kindly to being tied down to a specific location at a set time each day.

 

However, players will be able to change their whereabouts with only one minute's notice.

 

For example, a player scheduled to arrive at a training ground at midday could alter his arrangements by text messaging anti-doping testers at one minute to noon, if he were stuck in traffic or held up at home.

 

Andy Parkinson, UK Sport's head of operations for a drug-free sport, insisted he was not setting out to make life difficult for footballers.

 

Christine Ohuruogu and Rio Ferdinand

Ohuruogu and Ferdinand have been high-profile casualties of missed tests

"The last thing we want is for football to be in that position where it doesn't focus enough - doesn't put controls in place - and suddenly finds itself a sport with a fantastic profile in a crisis," he told The Sun newspaper.

 

"The identity of the players on the list will be decided by UK Sport and the FA.

 

"We'll take into account behaviour of athletes in the past, long-term injuries, where maybe they disappeared to Eastern Europe for six months to get an injury sorted, or if they have had a (previous) doping violation."

 

The new tests will look for both performance-enhancing drugs and recreational substances.

 

The use of social drugs such as cocaine is only prohibited during competition by Wada but the FA's stance is to prohibit their use out of competition as well.

 

"This is borne out of a belief that footballers should be drug-free at all times," said an FA spokesman.

 

"Under our doping control regulations, a positive out-of-competition test for a social drug such as cocaine can and does result in a ban of up to six months for a first offence.

 

"We are committed to being at the forefront of the fight against doping."

 

It is reported that UK Sport and FA officials will meet in the next couple of months to draw up a players' register ahead of the move.

 

The scheme is expected to begin next season, with a new version of the Wada code set to be introduced on 1 January 2009.

 

This is all a fucking shambles. Gordon Taylor being happy with one player per team being tested post match? What a tool. Even with these so-called improvements, I could tell someone how to dope and not get caught. I don't personally think that the Premier League has a serious drug problem, mainly due to it's island location, but then again I don't believe that no footballer in this division has ever doped and not got caught.

 

The attitude of the PL, FA, and PFA completely stinks, and it is pretty much established these days that authorities and club managers are just as culpable when it comesto doping as the dopers themselves.

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There were a number of rumours a couple of seasons ago of a team who had caught one of their players with cocaine in his system.

 

The team weren't able to do anything against the player publicly since it's against FA rules for clubs to test their own players.  However, the player did suddenly experience an injury that kept him out of action until he tested clear for the rest of the season.

 

I doubt there's a serious problem with drug taking in football, but it really wouldn't surprise me if there were far more players taking drugs than the couple of major public instances that are already known about.

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Is there any evidence of any use of performance enhancing drugs in football? I can't remember any?

 

If they're testing people to catch them taking recreational drugs, then I'm not sure that's really an issue for the FA. In that case maybe it should be down to the clubs to decide whether they want to build drug testing into their employees' contracts.

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There were a number of rumours a couple of seasons ago of a team who had caught one of their players with cocaine in his system.

 

The team weren't able to do anything against the player publicly since it's against FA rules for clubs to test their own players.  However, the player did suddenly experience an injury that kept him out of action until he tested clear for the rest of the season.

 

I doubt there's a serious problem with drug taking in football, but it really wouldn't surprise me if there were far more players taking drugs than the couple of major public instances that are already known about.

Milner?

 

Edit:Nah I doubt it, but his injury was a bit weird.

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There were a number of rumours a couple of seasons ago of a team who had caught one of their players with cocaine in his system.

 

The team weren't able to do anything against the player publicly since it's against FA rules for clubs to test their own players.  However, the player did suddenly experience an injury that kept him out of action until he tested clear for the rest of the season.

 

I doubt there's a serious problem with drug taking in football, but it really wouldn't surprise me if there were far more players taking drugs than the couple of major public instances that are already known about.

Milner?

 

Edit:Nah I doubt it, but his injury was a bit weird.

 

Not Milner, or even Dyer from what I've heard.  I've been told the name of the player by a few people but I'd not want to get the forum shut down on it's 1st day back by repeating their name here.

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I think drugs like coke would be the most commonly used in the premier league due to the lifestyle of some of the players.

 

I don't think it's a massive problem, but I think that drug testing should be a lot more stringent. I had to take regular drug tests in one of my old jobs and I think that the current method of dope testing in the PL is way below par.

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Is there any evidence of any use of performance enhancing drugs in football? I can't remember any?

 

If they're testing people to catch them taking recreational drugs, then I'm not sure that's really an issue for the FA. In that case maybe it should be down to the clubs to decide whether they want to build drug testing into their employees' contracts.

edgar davids,fenando couto and jaap stam have all tested positive for nandrolone

 

 

 

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I think drugs like coke would be the most commonly used in the premier league due to the lifestyle of some of the players.

 

I don't think it's a massive problem, but I think that drug testing should be a lot more stringent. I had to take regular drug tests in one of my old jobs and I think that the current method of dope testing in the PL is way below par.

 

Really, stuff like cocaine really isn't an issue any more particularly with more random testing as you can't hide cocaine in the bloodstream. Clubs have been quite happy to take down a player on recreational drugs.

 

Just to clarify, this thread is about stringency of procedures and attitudes to doping control rather than throwing around accusations of doping.

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I think drugs like coke would be the most commonly used in the premier league due to the lifestyle of some of the players.

 

I don't think it's a massive problem, but I think that drug testing should be a lot more stringent. I had to take regular drug tests in one of my old jobs and I think that the current method of dope testing in the PL is way below par.

 

Really, stuff like cocaine really isn't an issue any more particularly with more random testing as you can't hide cocaine in the bloodstream. Clubs have been quite happy to take down a player on recreational drugs.

 

Just to clarify, this thread is about stringency of procedures and attitudes to doping control rather than throwing around accusations of doping.

decky's been doped i think.

 

 

anyhow........apart from the knowing where they have to be 1 hour of each week which does seem a bit drastic,i have no problem with atesting team turning up at a training ground etc unannounced and testing everyone.

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I think drugs like coke would be the most commonly used in the premier league due to the lifestyle of some of the players.

 

I don't think it's a massive problem, but I think that drug testing should be a lot more stringent. I had to take regular drug tests in one of my old jobs and I think that the current method of dope testing in the PL is way below par.

 

Really, stuff like cocaine really isn't an issue any more particularly with more random testing as you can't hide cocaine in the bloodstream. Clubs have been quite happy to take down a player on recreational drugs.

 

Just to clarify, this thread is about stringency of procedures and attitudes to doping control rather than throwing around accusations of doping.

decky's been doped i think.

 

 

anyhow........apart from the knowing where they have to be 1 hour of each week which does seem a bit drastic,i have no problem with atesting team turning up at a training ground etc unannounced and testing everyone.

 

I don't think it is drastic, I don't think it is enough considering that the improvements are in fact merely bring procedures from thousands of miles below to hundreds of miles below what other sports and other countries have been doing for years.

 

As recently as 2003, one Premiership footballer told doping control that he had never been tested in a 12-year career.

 

At the moment, one player who played in the game before will be tested, so if there were any concerns, withdrawal from a match would avoid that outcome. Furthermore, some drugs could be administered during pre-season to a whole team by a team doctor, and traces of drugs will be gone by the time the tests comes along, but the effects of the drugs will remain.

 

Now there is the possibility that a player will be tested when they don't want to be, but if I understand the article correctly, only 30 of 2500 professionals in England will get tested randomly.

 

Because tests aren't regular and systematic, it is impossible to build a biological profile for a player, basically if you take enough tests, you are able to look for more than just drugs, you can look for irregularities in body chemicals which change and fluctuate over the course of a season based on physical exertion.

 

For instance, a fatigued player will be depleted of testosterone, but testosterone can be refilled to the maximum allowed level simply by applying a testosterone patch similar to a nicotine patch. Any tests that the PL do will just say that a player has the legal levels of testosterone. However, with systematic tests, doping control can spot that a player has more testosterone than you would expect them to have even though the test on its own displays legal levels of testosterone. Spotting such an anomaly, testing control can retest an individual.

 

Why retest? Well there is a limit to what you can test with a couple of samples, and these samples are needed to test a wide range of things. Synthetic testosterone is difficult to test for in a general doping test, but if testers know what they are looking for, they have a better chance of finding it.

 

Until this level of systematic testing is achieved, testing will always be ineffective.

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james. the only bit i thought was drastic was that the players would have to give notice of where they are going to be for an hour of each week.

 

I know, but I thought I'd add a bit more as to how I personally think it should be done.

 

It is an hour of each day by the way. And considering what footballers get paid, an extra hour of their day is nothing, and besides they can easily arrange for it to be lunch hour at the club canteen or whatever, and can change where they are going to be at a minute's notice.

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james. the only bit i thought was drastic was that the players would have to give notice of where they are going to be for an hour of each week.

 

I know, but I thought I'd add a bit more as to how I personally think it should be done.

 

It is an hour of each day by the way. And considering what footballers get paid, an extra hour of their day is nothing, and besides they can easily arrange for it to be lunch hour at the club canteen or whatever, and can change where they are going to be at a minute's notice.

they still need to have their own lives so i think that is too restrictive but not far off.

 

the "they get paid enough"argument is a non-starter because it covers all pro's. not just the premier superstars. i know i am better paid than some league 2 players.

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tbh, it will be the same for other sports in that Italy, Spain and Eastern Europe will have the worst problems, particularly compared with Great Britain, as the drug factories needed to be set up for some of the more effective and untraceable drug treatments would be very risky to set up in GB due to the lack of seclusion, unavailability of alternative electricity sources,and just the general impossibility of sneaking across any borders unnoticed.

 

I think as well that being on an island, in terms of the social networks the British have been a little isolated , and as such the doping culture that existed in some sports never made it to the participants in some sports.

 

Even so, even if there geniunely is less of a problem, in my opinion that doesn't mean that authorities should take a slack attitude on this issue.

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Considering how much of an issue this have been in America lately, I wouldn't be surprised if there's some usage of performance enhancing drugs going on under the table because of the league's ridiculously lax regulations. (Obviously not to an extent anywhere near that of the US)

 

Would explain Hull City, at least.  :lol:

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  • 1 year later...

During the current shortage of contemporaneous footballing events to talk about, I thought I'd dredge up the idea of doping in football.

 

Doubtlessly there is some individual doping going on even in the IPL, for example, there will be some keepers using beta-blockers and/or Ritalin. Low level stuff. But that is a thing that can be sorted out fairly discretely without any outside help.

 

How about organised doping by the teams? The current proliferation of sports science experts and cutting edge medical teams in Premier league football would certainly provide the means and knowledge for administering a programme, but is it worth the risk to start institutionalised cheating like this?

 

I would suppose the high point in 'level one' of doping would be the Italian leagues in the late 90's and early 00's. A culture of win-at-all-costs was existent, and there are several cases of people getting busted: Stam/Couto at Lazio, Agricola's programme at Juve ( http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article396203.ece ) etc. But, in the Italian style (tactical, static, low tempo) there would be less benefit for a player on 'body drugs' increasing strength or endurance (apart from 'engine room' midfielders like Edgar Davids ( http://www.cbc.ca/sports/indepth/drugs/stories/top10_appendix.html ) ). Level one doping would aid the arms race in football expressed here ( http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=21223132 ) , always towards bigger players, as well as the extension of playing careers into he later 30's.

 

How about 'level two': the new doping? Hormones and steroids professionally delivered through microdosing and transfusions? The benefit of doping would be at its greatest not in making a Fernando Couto slightly stronger from his already high base, but in making a player who totally lacks strength much stronger. Take the two teams who epitomise the newest tactical evolutions of the game: Barcelona and Arsenal. The big gamble taken by both of these clubs is that the young players they have, often selected because of attributes such as speed and low centre of gravity which are associated with smaller players, will develop coping mechanisms to counter the disadvantages their light weight and lack of hight cause. Of these teams, Arsenal seem to have been less successful in taking raw talent and producing world class players (I immediately think of Walcott). On the other hand, Barcelona have an excellent record of fully developing these players. I think not just of Xavi – Inniesta – Messi, but upcoming players like Pedro and Bojan. The latter two are much stronger than players like Aimar or Saviola were at an equivalent age.

 

Barcelona have, in Guardiola (whose problems woth CONI rumble on: ( http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLV53002820090731 ) ), a member of the generation of people who have been exposed to the effects of Italian soccer's doping period.  I would not go so far as to say that he has taken that experience to Barcelona and sanctions - explicitly or tacitly – the use of something more than Coldplay to improve performances ( http://www.thespoiler.co.uk/index.php/2009/08/27/pep-guardiolas-obssession-with-coldplay-continues ), but Spanish football in general cannot be considered in a positive light after the Puerto case ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operaci%C3%B3n_Puerto_doping_case ) and the lack of political will to tackle the case is indicative of interests more significant that cycling teams in the suppression of the case.

 

Given the lack of competence regulation from the authorities, the best evidence for doping must be in observed effects on the pitch. The capability of teams to combine high tempo possession football with incredibly aggressive closing down when not in possession (Again, I think of the tactical innovations of Barcelona here) at current levels, for a period of 90 minutes, attests to more than a slight difference between the football of now an of, say, 15 years ago. It is certainly not possible to explain all of the difference in distances covered during games, body-shape, BMI, etc to some vague notion of 'better nutrition and fitness': the gap is too great. Forget about skill, the Barca team of '93-'94, great as it was, would be utterly overrun by the current squad. And forget diet: they were eating “pasta not fish and chips” back then anyway. Where does the improvement come from? Does anyone else have any suspicions?

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Guest palnese

Rememer a couple of years ago when Luton Town played against my local team as a part of their pre-season and Don Hutchison talked about several Liverpool and Everton players doing coke just before games. He seemed like an honest bloke.

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Rememer a couple of years ago when Luton Town played against my local team as a part of their pre-season and Don Hutchison talked about several Liverpool and Everton players doing coke just before games. He seemed like an honest bloke.

 

I can't say I'd considered of that kind of doping, but, thinking about it, there might be a place for 'confidence' drugs in the locker room. A 'team talk' guaranteed to make you feel brilliant! However, cocaine has some side effects relating artery tightening and decreased heart functions, so it would only be a productive approach for a player not exerting himself at 100%. Institutionally though, I can't see a team advising players to take cocaine when there are better and less legally and morally problematic substances available. It sounds like something that certain footballers would be thick enough to try 'off their own bats', as it would be.

 

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Spanish football in general cannot be considered in a positive light after the Puerto case ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operaci%C3%B3n_Puerto_doping_case ) and the lack of political will to tackle the case is indicative of interests more significant that cycling teams in the suppression of the case.

 

that whole case was handled in a pretty disgusting way by the authorities, i mean the doctor himself went on the record and admitted that he worked with several spanish football teams and tennis players, yet they've never even investigated those matters (the cycling part was pretty ridiculous as well, when you find a shitload of plastic bags full of blood and a list of names just how difficult can it be to verify whether its their blood or not?). probably has something to do with political ties.

 

doping controls in football (and most other team sports) are generally a joke in comparison with the controls in athletics/cycling/other endurance sports, and for instance dozens of cyclists have never tested positive but admitted to doping or got caught in other ways. i'm pretty sure clubs consider every possible method to maximize the performance and physical capabilities of their players and doping is surely one of the best of those, especially with the loose nature of controls.

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