FIFA reluctant to impose two-year doping ban

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> FIFA President Sepp Blatter said football's world governing body remains reluctant to impose automatic two-year doping bans.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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FIFA President Sepp Blatter said football's world governing body remains reluctant to impose automatic two-year doping bans. Blatter alleged that FIFA still has reservations about the provisions of the new World Anti-Doping Code approved two weeks ago in Copenhagen, Denmark, by sports federations and national governments. Blatter said it would be wrong to have mandatory two-year suspensions for first serious drug violations. "We have to make an individual case. You cannot take somebody who is found guilty of doping to say it is two years. You have to give him the possibility to defend himself and perhaps it is less than two years. But perhaps it's more than two years. There is no court which would defend a decision which is arbitrarily taken for an automatic two years," stressed Blatter. The code, drafted by the World Anti-Doping Agency, sets out standardized drug-testing rules and penalties, including two-year bans. WADA accepted FIFA's reservations and said the two-year rule could be considered as a guideline only. Blatter insisted that FIFA supports the code as a whole. "The world was expecting FIFA to come to Copenhagen to say we were against. We are not against. We are in favour. The WADA president (Dick Pound) and the president of the IOC (Jacques Rogge) are happy. We fight doping," he asserted. "At the World Cup last year we have not only urine tests, but also blood tests. Every single player had to sign a document that he is ready to undergo these tests and they did, including the big stars," remarked Blatter. He claimed that performance-enhancing drugs were useless in soccer. "One has to say that it is a nonsense to have doping in football," he said. Blatter said amphetamines would lead to players' getting yellow or red cards for being too aggressive. As for steroids, he said, "They are to give more muscles. But the player having more muscles is not a better football player because what is asked today is skill not muscles." Dutch stars Edgar Davids, Jaap Stam and Frank de Boer, Portugal's Fernando Couto and Spain's Josep Guardiola are among players who have tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone. The players served short suspensions, saying the drug may have entered their system through legal food supplements. (AP)

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