Modern football: to dope or not to dope?

A well-known group of hackers called “Fancy Bears” has recently published new information on WADA’s “Adverse Analytical Findings”, which reveals data on football players whose samples were found to contain substances from WADA’s “List of Prohibited Substances and Methods”.


The doping issue in modern football has been an “open secret” for a while, and in fact, this case is only the latest in a long series of similar scandals, including cases of Juventus, one of the leading teams in Italy, and top Liverpool player Mamadou Sakho.

Previous cases and the continuing denial of the problem, however, seem insignificant when compared to the newly leaked information. WADA’s “Adverse Analytical Findings” shows information on doping-tests, failed by football players from all over the world (Brazil, England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany).

According to the leaked figures cited by Spiegel, in 2015 alone World Anti-Doping Agency detected 149 doping cases. The “top-of-the-list” substances cited in the WADA data include traditional favorites, such as amphetamines, asthma medications, anti-estrogens, cannabis, cocaine, peptide hormones and anabolic steroids. As EU Reporter claims, some of the listed players are big stars in major European leagues and were caught “red-handed” right after international matches. However, it is not athletes’ not-so-responsible conduct that is shocking here. Modern football keeps getting more and more dynamic, and players’ turbulent schedule, that may include up to 60-70 matches a season, along with the need to recover from fatigue and injuries as soon as possible, makes doping an understandable option to ease the recovery process.

Football federations and associations’ attitude toward the issue and the “conspiracy of silence” binding together football clubs and organizations worldwide is much more worrisome, as the WADA document also shows plenty of violations, conducted on different levels all over the place. 

For instance, talking regionally, traditionally trustworthy organizations as FIFA, UEFA, South American and Asian football associations, for instance, continually commissioned the testing procedures. Taking it to the national level, there would also be many wrongdoings.

Spanish Liga, for instance, along with its anti-doping association are “no-WADA compliant” since March 2016, as they had not carried out a single testing procedure at any level for a year.

In 2015, the National Federation of Mexican football dismissed 33 cases and cleared the accused players by stating that they must have eaten contaminated meat. English FA kept saying cocaine and hashish are classified as “social drugs”, and players would remain unpunished if taking drugs on days off matches, while German Football Association did not detect a single doping case since 2015 at all.

Doping experts report of a new challenge for the authorities, the Selective Androgen Receptive Modulators (SARMs), which are similar to steroids but more difficult to trace. Nevertheless, there is no point to worry about the upcoming doping problems if the current attitude toward the issue remains.

Artur Meier, Jep News


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