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Football urged to fight drugs

13 February 2013-DPA

john fahey wada

Call ... WADA chief John Fahey (Getty)

Football needs to step up its testing for the blood booster EPO, the current drug of choice, if it is to begin fleshing out cheats, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Tuesday.

The new athlete biological passport - which can be used to indicate possible doping rather than evidence of a specific drug - should also be introduced, WADA said.

"They (football) are not testing enough for EPO," WADA president John Fahey told a London symposium. "They could do more and we encourage them to do more."

The biological passport has been adopted by 25 sports, including cycling, a sport tarnished by drug-taking over the past 30 years.

American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins after admitting to taking a cocktail of drugs throughout his career, said the introduction of the biological passport was a significant tool in reducing drug taking in cycling.

"I would argue that we now know the athlete biological passport is a very effective tool," Fahey said.

"Why isn't football using it? They can? My view is that it will make them more effective."

WADA director general David Howman said there was no reason football, worldwide, should not use the tools at its disposal.

"The way it can be addressed is significantly more testing, more blood, more athlete profiles so that they can say they don't have a problem," he said.

"They don't test (properly) for EPO. You've got to start to say: 'let's have a quality programme' so they can say 'we don't have a problem because we've checked properly and fully'."

Howman said he expected the number of sports using the biological passport to double from 25 to 50 by the end of 2013.

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