WADA wants football to boost anti-drugs effort

Updated 13 February 2013
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WADA wants football to boost anti-drugs effort

LONDON: Football must do more in the global battle against drugs in sport, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey said yesterday, supporting claims by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that current policy was too lax.
Amid questions about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in a number of sports, Wenger recently called for greater use of biological passports and increased testing for the blood-booster erythropoetin (EPO) in “the world game.”
“Whatever the sport, wherever it is in the world, more can be done,” Fahey told a news conference in London, against the backdrop of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal that saw the US cyclist stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for drug use.
“I saw some examples recently, in tennis, where senior players were saying they were not tested terribly regularly,” Fahey said. “I would say tennis can do more, as can football do more,” the Australian added. “We’re not in the business — and nor is any anti-doping agency — of reacting to rumor.
“On the other hand, on a daily basis we get frequently anonymous information at our headquarters and we ensure the appropriate body is given that information to follow up.
“So we don’t ignore it but one has to work on facts and it is not unusual for a losing team to blame something other than the ability of themselves for the reason for their defeat so you have to be a little bit careful and work on the facts.
“I simply say this about football — they are not testing enough for EPO. They can do more and we encourage them to do more.
“Again, use intelligence, not just more tests. While testing is a good deterrent factor and may be an effective way of catching people, I would argue the athlete biological passport is a very effective tool.
“Why isn’t football using it? Again, why aren’t the four football codes (football, rugby union, rugby league and Australian rules) in my country (Australia) using it? “They can and in my view it would make them more effective.
“But I also recognize all of this costs money and I suspect some sports have got capacity to do it more easily than others and I can only encourage sports to see why this must be a priority to ensure the integrity of their game.” WADA chiefs are due to meet with Sepp Blatter, the president of world football governing body FIFA, in Zurich on Thursday.

 


Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Updated 22 May 2018
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Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs
  • Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million)

RIYADH: The General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) have announced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs.
According to reports, the Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million) that will not only clear monies owed but also enable clubs to invest ahead of the 2018-19 season.
The issue of debt had become a major issue in the country’s football scene.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs are currently experiencing financial problems that require immediate and urgent intervention,” the General Sports Authority, which oversees Saudi Arabian sport, said in a statement released on social media.
The body noted that there are a total of 107 cases under appeal at world governing body FIFA regarding unpaid salaries in Saudi Arabia.
“Failure to intervene urgently to rescue clubs may result in damage to the reputation of the Kingdom in general and Saudi Arabian sport in particular,” added the GSA.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs may face severe disciplinary sanctions because of the failure to meet financial obligations such as the
denial of the registration of players in general or the deduction of points.”
Unpaid salaries were also a factor in Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr being unable to appear in this year’s AFC Champions League after they were denied AFC club licenses.
Al-Ittihad were the club with the highest debt of 309 million riyals ($82 million) and welcomed the news.
“We are delighted by the generous initiative of His Royal Highness,” Al-Ittihad president Nawaf Al-Muqairn said in an official statement released by the two-time Asian champions.
“This contributes to creating solid ground for all clubs to move toward achieving their goals.”
Legendary Saudi striker Sami Al-Jaber, recently appointed president of champions Al-Hilal, announced his gratitude on social media.
“Great thanks to His Highness the Crown Prince for the great support that the clubs have enjoyed which enables sport in our country to keep pace with the aspirations of our leadership,” Al-Jaber wrote.
The Crown Prince’s move followed the SAFF announcing a new raft of regulations in April that will come into effect next season and are designed to take the league forward. These included restricting club spending on transfers and salaries to 70 percent of revenue. The size of first-team squads has been reduced from 33 to 28, of which five must be homegrown players of 23 or younger.