FIFA Won't Back Down on WADA "Whereabouts" Rule


August 10 - FIFA will not back down in its row with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over the controversial "whereabouts" rule where leading players, including England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, are expected to provide details of their location for one hour every day of the year.

FIFA and UEFA have both pressed for changes, arguing the rule is harsh and unfair and should apply only to teams and not individual players.

FIFA has previously demanded that out-of-competition tests take place only at club training facilities, and that players should not be tested during holidays to respect their private lives.

But WADA President John Fahey has claimed that football should not receive any special concessions and that they must follow the WADA Code like every other sport.

Michel D'Hooghe, the chairman of FIFA's Medical Committee, has told insidethegames that they are refusing to back down on their hardline stance.

"Right now there is only one differing view between us and that relates to exactly where footballers can be tested," said D'Hooghe in an exclusive interview with insidethegames.

"Someone like a marathon runner can be tested in their house first thing in the morning.

"WADA believes everybody should be treated the same way regardless of whether it is an individual or team sport.

"We don't share that view.

"In football, players are on the training field every day.

"If you get the training programmes of clubs, you can easily go to the stadium to test the players.

"There's no need to go to private homes."

FIFA claims that the sport carries out more than 30,000 doping controls a year it is already taking the fight against banned performance-enhancing drugs seriously.

"We had 512 doping controls in South Africa [at the World Cup] and not a single positive which is pretty good going compared to other sports," said D'Hooghe (pictured).

"We are collectively very proud of our anti-doping strategy.

"Since the [Diego] Maradona case in 1994, we have not had single case in the World Cup.

"Everyone playing football knows there is a good chance he or she could at some point be tested.

"Last year we had only nine steroid cases out of 35,000 controls."

D'Hooghe claimed that, apart from the disagreements over the whereabouts rule, relations between FIFA and WADA have never been better.

"It's the only thing we disagree on," the Belgian told insidethegames.

"WADA have even come round to accepting our policy of individual case management rather than an automatic two-year ban."


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