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FIFA fears African herbs, to visit teams unannounced

Fifa is afraid that players at the World Cup could use undetectable stimulants derived from traditional African medicines that aren’t currently banned substances.

Fifa medical committee chairman Michel D’Hooghe said that he wants the World Anti-Doping Agency to analyse some African plants that could give athletes an unfair advantage.

D’Hooghe said he became aware of the extent of the issue at Fifa’s medical conference this weekend ahead of the World Cup in South Africa, which starts on June 11.

South African team doctor Ntlopi Mogoru said the plants, usually found in tropical African countries like Ghana, can produce steroid by-products that are not on WADA’s list and aren’t picked up in doping tests.

Anti-doping tests on players will start in April, two months ahead of the June 11 kick-off in South Africa, FIFA’s chief medical officer said on Monday.

Teams are required to submit their whereabouts to the world football body by March 22 with testing in training camps running from April 10 to June 10.

“Two months prior the World Cup, we will be visiting the teams unannounced,” said FIFA chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak, saying that eight players in a squad will be randomly selected for blood and urine testing.

“During the World Cup itself, two players per team will be tested, randomly selected from each team, and they will be escorted immediately after the match for the doping controls.”

Speaking after a football medicine conference, Dvorak told a media briefing that 320 tests will be done before the tournament and at least 256 more after kick-off.

“We have a very strict strategy in the fight against doping, in and out of competition, absolutely in compliance with the world anti-doping code and we will not deviate from this strategy,” he said.


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