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Wada steps up fight with football

Urine Samples
Fahey says significant progress was made against doping in the past year

The World Anti-Doping Agency has hit out at Fifa and Uefa for insisting that footballers should be allowed to take breaks from out-of-competition testing.

Both organisations say players should be exempt when they are on holiday.

But Wada boss John Fahey said: "You cannot have a time when you are clean and a time when you are not. It has to be a case of clean the whole time.

"If we want to have an effective test, you've got to have the ability to test anybody at any time."

Fahey says giving any athletes a break from testing would undermine anti-doping controls and give cheats time to start doping with impunity.

"I cannot see how you can say you only have to comply by the code for a particular period of the year and it's a free-kick in a certain period called holidays," the Wada president added in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live's Gordon Farquhar.

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"If we really want to have a system that has integrity we are exposing it to losing that integrity with an approach like that."

It is not just Fifa and Uefa who are against Wada's new "whereabouts" code.

Several leading tennis players, like Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Venus Williams, have also criticised the initiative for being too intrusive and too difficult to comply with.

Under the rules, athletes must specify in advance one hour a day when and where they can be located for controls.

Fifa medical committee chairman Michel D'Hooghe compared "whereabouts" to an "inquisition", while Uefa president Michel Platini says his organisation is "completely against" the idea of players being available 365 days a year for testing.

The Athlete's Passport developed under Wada's leadership could represent one of the most significant advances in the global fight against doping in sport in the coming months and years

Wada president John Fahey

Despite criticism of "whereabouts", Fahey says significant progress has been made against doping in the past year.

He puts the advances down to better co-operation with pharmaceutical companies and a new information-sharing agreement with crime-fighting unit Interpol.

"It may take a while to reach the finishing line in this fight, but I have no doubt we are much closer to that finishing line than last year," he said.

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see also
Wada close to 'Athlete Passports'
24 Feb 09 |  Sport Homepage
Wada stands defiant in doping row
17 Feb 09 |  Sport Homepage
Wada hits back in doping rule row
06 Feb 09 |  Olympics
Anger grows over anti-doping code
04 Feb 09 |  Sport Homepage


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