Monday, May 10, 2010

Wada Gives Fifa Free Rein at WC2010

When it comes to the Olympics, to cycling ... the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) is ready to pounce. Test everyone. For everything. Penalize. Ban.

So it seems more than a little odd that Wada's president says, in essence, Fifa has this drug-testing thing handled and we won't be doing much of anything at South Africa 2010.

How does this work, exactly? Let's see, one of the selling points of performance-enhancing drugs is the ability to bounce back from exertion quickly. You think soccer players might not find that helpful, a little chemical help to help bring them around for another 90 minutes two days later?

Most of us associate drugs with big guys. Football players, rugby players ... and all those fast-twitch guys who need a little extra explosiveness. Like, oh, every world-class sprinter from the past three decades.

So why is Wada backing off from Fifa?

The Wada president, John Fahey, seems to suggest that the length of the World Cup (a full month) makes it too expensive for his group to be hanging around, doing what it might do at an Olympics.

Is that it? All of it?

Or does Wada just not care about the typically smallish soccer lads? Because they aren't all bulky and don't have the look of cheaters? And why does Wada let soccer get away with not following the "whereabouts" rule? (Letting Wada know where you are at all times so you can be tested randomly.)

Anyway, what are the odds -- I mean, really -- that Fifa's drug-testing crew will ever (ever) come up with a positive drug test for a player during the World Cup? Small. And in the case of latter rounds, nil.

Just sounds like a bad idea. Let's have an aggressive, omnipresent Wada hanging around the World Cup. Testing. Testing. Testing.

Just because soccer players aren't big doesn't mean they aren't juicing. Let's get the same sort of policing rigor into the World Cup that we have for other events.
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