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FIFA tests top stars

15 November 2013, 06:43

Johannesburg - FIFA is creating blood and urine profiles of the world's top players with unannounced visits by an anti-doping team to clubs like Champions League winner Bayern Munich, ensuring the stars are under scrutiny ahead of next year's World Cup.

A FIFA anti-doping team visited the training ground of European champion Bayern last week, FIFA chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak said on Thursday at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in South Africa.

"After two hours we had blood and urine samples and all the players collaborated," Dvorak said.

Dvorak also said FIFA is working on the logistics of its "Plan B" regarding the drug-testing of samples at the World Cup, which will have to be flown all the way to Switzerland because there will not be a WADA-accredited laboratory in Brazil during the tournament. Dvorak said FIFA is aiming to test player samples in Lausanne, Switzerland 14-24 hours after they are taken from a player at a stadium in Brazil.

"Now we are confronted with that situation, we have to deal with that," he said.

The tournament in Brazil in 2014 will be the first World Cup where FIFA uses the athlete biological passport, the system that helps detect illegal substances from changes in a player's blood profile. FIFA also will be one of the first federations to introduce the new urine profiling technique to detect steroids, announced as ready to go as an addition to the biological passport by the World Anti-Doping Agency this week.

"That means examination of the blood parameters, including hormones and EPO in the blood, and examination of urine for the steroid profiles," Dvorak said.

It'll cost FIFA close to $1 million to introduce the profiling for the World Cup, he said. He declined to say how much it would cost to transport the anti-doping samples from Brazil to Switzerland.

The new steroid-detecting urine process will be used in Brazil after football's worst case of steroid use in recent years came at this year's Women's World Cup in June, when North Korea's team was kicked out and five players were banned for 14 to 18 months after testing positive for steroids.

Although FIFA has generally stayed clear of doping scandals at the World Cup, at least four players failed drug tests during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and a Tahiti player tested positive for the banned stimulant tuaminoheptane at the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Dvorak said the unannounced visit to Bayern Munich was part of FIFA's process to build profiles of players. The world body has created blood profiles for 600-700 of the top players, he said.

"Last week we were examining the Bayern Munich team," he said. "We arrive unannounced in the morning to the training session. All the players were there, even the injured players. This is fantastic. We received the approval of the medical team to go ahead ... (and) the approval of Pep Guardiola, the manager of the team."

Dvorak said Barcelona, Chelsea, Uruguay's Monterrey and Brazil's Santos have also been profiled, starting with stars like Lionel Messi and Neymar when they competed at the 2011 Club World Cup.

Ramping up its anti-doping controls ahead of the World Cup, FIFA will ensure that every country that qualifies for the finals will have its players profiled through blood and urine tests in the six months leading up to tournament kickoff next June. Those results will be compared with their profiles when they are at the tournament.

- AP

Tags fifa football

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