FA set to in­tro­duce any­time drug test­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODPASTIMES -

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

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