Football should quadruple blood testing in doping fight - Wada

Only a tiny fraction of doping controls in 2013 came in the form of blood tests and the World Anti-Doping Authority has called on football to do more
Football authorities should quadruple blood testing in their doping controls, according to the World Anti-Doping Authority.

The latest Wada Testing Figures revealed that only 2.38 per cent of doping controls in 2013 came in the form of blood testing and Wada has set a minimum of 10%.

Governing bodies are responsible for testing in their own jurisdictions, and while a total of 28,002 dope tests were administered in 2013, only 667 blood tests are counted among that number. Wada does not conduct tests and football has only been a signatory of the Wada code since 2006 - the last Olympic sport to sign up.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) did more blood tests on footballers than any organisation in 2013 with 232 in-competition blood tests out of a total of 2896 doping tests conducted in total - just over 8%. Organisations in top football countries like Spain, the Netherlands and Brazil, meanwhile, failed to conduct any.

"There was an Executive Committee decision last year advocating that at least 10 per cent of testing should be blood testing," a Wada spokesperson told Goal.

"Blood testing is a very important and effective part of any anti-doping program. We encourage all anti-doping organisations to conduct blood testing."

Blood testing is the optimum way of detecting performance enhancing drugs, including the blood booster EPO and Human Growth Hormone (hGH). Blood transfusions, also prohibited by Wada, are also undetectable through urine analysis, which accounted for around 77% of all doping controls in 2013.

EPO tests numbered 2,375 in 2013 while only 135 samples were taken for hGH.

Fifa implemented the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) at the recent World Cup. All players who participated at the tournament in Brazil submitted a blood profile to Fifa medics. The ABP does not detect prohibited substances but instead detects changes in blood values over time.

Wada wants wider distribution of the ABP, which it sees as the best way of monitoring athletes, and has called on national associations and regional confederations to follow Fifa's lead.

"Collecting blood also remains vital for the Athlete Biological Passport," it said. "For football specifically, Wada was pleased to see Fifa recently implemented the ABP program at the World Cup. Wada looks forward to this being advanced by confederations and national federations in football."

Of 667 blood tests conducted in football in 2013, none returned an Adverse Analytical Finding or an Atypical Finding which require a results management process.