FIFA climbdown on doping regulations

New code to be in place for World Cup

FIFA’s President has agreed that football will bring its rules on doping into line with those of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA, has indicated that the rule changes would be in place by the World Cup on June 8th. Two year bans for doping would apply in cases where there has been “significant fault or negligence” on the part of the player.

The WADA Code has been widely adopted in sport, and adherence to it is now a condition of a sport’s inclusion in the Olympic games. Until now, football had taken its own course, preferring to apply its own penalties on a case-by-case basis. A decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in April that FIFA doping regulations were ‘not in full compliance’ with the WADA code may have forced FIFA’s hand.

The principal area of difference lay in the length of the period of suspension. Footballers who tested positive for steroids were given suspensions of a few months whereas competitors in other sports would be handed automatic 2-year bans. It is reported that both WADA and FIFA accept that there may be cases in which there are extenuating circumstances.