FA set to introduce anytime drug testing
UP TO half of Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad could face random drugs testing at home or on holiday in the build up to next year’s tournament in South Africa under new anti-doping procedures set to be agreed to soon.
Around a dozen regular members of the England first-team squad will have to declare their whereabouts to drug testers for an hour a day, every day of the year.
It is understood the Football Association and UK Sport have agreed to a compromise that will see up to a dozen of the first-team squad included in an elite pool of 25 players that will be subject to whereabouts rules, with the balance to come from age-group teams, possibly including leading under-21 internationals.
The new procedures, which are likely to be highly unpopular with selected players, are necessary for the FA to comply with the latest World Anti-Doping Agency code.
The rules, introduced at the start of this year in an attempt to test team sports with the same rigour as individuals, require international sides to submit a testing pool of up to 30 players to take part in the controversial “whereabouts” programme.
Under the rules, drugs testers can call at the allotted time and place on any day, but if the athlete is not there it counts as a missed test.
Any athlete missing three tests faces a standard two-year ban.
Missed tests are a highly sensitive subject after Rio Ferdinand was banned for eight months in 2003 after failing to attend a drugs test at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground.
The FA conducts more than 1 600 tests a year, in and out of competition and for recreational and performance-enhancing drugs, and top players can be tested in the Premier League, Champions League and on international duty. – The Telegraph