Matildas coach Tom Sermanni launched a scathing attack on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) over the decision to allow North Korea to participate at the London Olympic Games despite it being guilty of doping violations.
Five North Korean women tested positive to steroids at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with the federation blaming the positive results on a mysterious musk deer gland therapy taken after the players were struck by lightning during training.
Those five were banned for up to 18 months and FIFA has declared the national team will be unable to enter qualification for the 2015 tournament to be held in Canada.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s international match with world champion Japan in Tokyo, Sermanni claimed that both bodies should have followed FIFA’s lead in banning the country from Olympic qualification.
“We were amazed that the World Anti-Doping Agency and the IOC, who apparently take a very strong stance on the use of drugs, decided to take absolutely no action whatsoever and allow North Korea firstly to enter the Olympic qualification and then allow them once they had qualified to participate in the Olympic Games,” he said.
North Korea finished second behind Japan in Olympic qualifying, relegating Australia to third-place in the five-team final group tournament, denying the Matildas a spot in London.
“It’s no secret that we were very, very disappointed,” Sermanni said. “FIFA took the right action to protect the integrity of the World Cup by banning North Korea.
“When we went to the Olympic qualifiers we felt that, as did China and South Korea, the third position in the group would be vital because we felt that even after the Olympic qualifiers somebody, particularly the IOC, would take action and not allow North Korea to go to the Olympics.”
The veteran coach also claimed that there was no drug testing during that qualification tournament.
“Every tournament that we have participated in, particularly formal tournaments, there was drug testing so not only did they not take any action but they decided that it wasn’t worth actually doing some drug testing. To say that we are disappointed is an understatement,” he said.
Japanese coach Norio Sasaki declined to comment on the issue, saying only that the absence of North Korea will, “benefit us in qualifying for the next World Cup.”
The Matildas play Japan in its final Olympic warm-up in Tokyo on Wednesday before the men’s Olympic side takes on fellow London-bound nation New Zealand later the same evening.
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