By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
August 11 - Football must adhere to the controversial "whereabouts" rule and top players must provide details of their location for one hour every day of the year, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President John Fahey warned today.
He was reacting to insidethegames' exclusive story yesterday that Michel D'Hooghe, the chairman of FIFA's Medical Committee, was against the rule because he believed that it should apply only to teams and not individuals.
But Fahey has made it clear that the WADA is not prepared to make an exception for football.
He exclusively told insidethegames: "There is no exception for FIFA nor for any sport to the athletes’ whereabouts requirements set forth in the International Standard for Testing of the World Anti-Doping Code.
"FIFA knows that and accepted that a long time ago.
"FIFA’s rules are in line with WADA’s International Standard for Testing, which is the framework for harmonised testing rules among anti-doping organisations.
"FIFA has an International Registered Testing Pool which makes 24/7 testing possible.
"In addition, under the International Standard for Testing, in team sports, whereabouts information can be submitted by team officials on a collective basis as part of the team’s activities, and FIFA has incorporated this component into its anti-doping policy."
The insidethegames story was today being hotly debated on the social networking site Twitter among some of Britain's top athletes, including former world javelin record holder Steve Backley and Kelly Sotherton, the 2004 Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist.
"This is why football piss me off," Sotherton tweeted.
Fahey defended the whereabouts rule, which has also been heavily criticised by some of the world's top tennis players, including Britain's Andy Murray.
Fahey told insidethegames: "It is also important to remember that whereabouts requirements are just a practical tool to help anti-doping organisations conduct effective out-of-competition testing.
"Irrelevant of whether they have been selected to be part of a registered testing pool, athletes can still be tested out-of-competition at any time by their International Federation, their National Anti-Doping Organization or other anti-doping organisations.
"The key element is the enforcement of whereabouts requirements by Code signatories.
"Over the coming months, WADA will continue to monitor the practical implementation of these rules by FIFA as it does with all Code signatories as part of its Code compliance report to be submitted to the WADA Foundation Board in November 2011."