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English FA hid 13 drug cases while lack of testing in Spain

The Berahino case recently highlighted the secrets behind drug offenses in English football with reports claiming there were several more. In Spain, the problem is lack of testing.

Panorámica del estadio de Wembley, propiedad de la FA.
Eddie KeoghREUTERS

More questions over the English FA

The English Football Association has hidden the positive drug results of 13 players in the professional game over the last four years. This news comes on the back of the recent stories behind the suspension of West Brom, now Stoke, player Saido Berahino, and is being reported by the British newspaper, The Daily Mail.

Although the footballers in question were sanctioned for their actions or non-actions in relation to the prohibited substances and testing process regulations, their identities have been kept under wraps by the football authorities in order, it is being said, to help them through their recovery.

During season 2012/13 the association detected one positive result, three in 2013/14, six in 2014/15 and three in the 2015/16 campaign. To give an idea of the scale of testing, a total of 2,442 were undertaken last season with 0.12% positive.

Recently the MPs in the House of Commons issued a vote of no confidence in the Football Association's ability to reform itself.

Lack of drug testing in Spain

In Spanish football there is a different problem with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stating that it is alarmed at the reported lack of drug testing in Spanish football over the past year.

In March 2016, AEPSAD – Spain's anti-doping body – was declared non-compliant, while the WADA-accredited laboratory in Madrid was suspended in June. Reports emerged that no WADA-compliant test has been undertaken since that decision almost a year ago, with reports suggesting that no agreement was reached with FIFA or UEFA to step in and ensure tests were undertaken.

A WADA statement read: "WADA has noted the media reports stating that there has been no World Anti-Doping Code-compliant testing conducted in Spanish football since the National Anti-Doping Organization of Spain, AEPSAD, was declared non-compliant in March 2016. The lack of testing in a country with one of the leading football leagues worldwide for a period of almost 12 months is alarming, and will do little to instil confidence in clean sport at a time when it is needed most.

Madrid vs Barcelona laboratory

"After AEPSAD was declared Code non-compliant on 19 March 2016, WADA encouraged an agreement between AEPSAD and International Sport Federations (IFs) that would ensure testing would be carried out on national level athletes in Spain during the period of non-compliance. It is deeply disappointing that some International Federations did not sign the agreement, as this has prevented effective anti-doping programs from being run at the national level in Spain in a number of sports [during this period of non-compliance].

"It should be noted that whilst the WADA-accredited laboratory in Madrid is currently suspended (as a result of AEPSAD being declared non-compliant, and pursuant to Article 4.4 of the International Standard for Laboratories), the WADA-accredited laboratory in Barcelona is still operating fully and therefore continues to be able to receive and analyse samples pursuant to world anti-doping rules."


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