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FIFA: Drugs 'Not a Problem'

FIFA is optimistic this year's tournament will be doping-free, after its doping control officers reported 216 clean urine tests prior to the start of the tournament. Professor Jiri Dvorak, FIFA's chief medical officer, confirmed that unannounced tests had been performed at the training camps of all 32 of participating teams and at 24 international friendlies in the build-up to the finals. This is a 20 percent increase over Korea/Japan in 2002. "I think this underlines that there is no significant problem of doping in football," said Dvorak. Unlike basketball, football and rugby, which place an emphasis on height and strength, a good soccer player doesn't need to be tall or strong, which is to say that drug-taking doesn't necessarily help players perform better. The game is much more about imagination and guile, and while tall, powerful players can also be plus, especially at the back, these are by no means requisite qualities for players to possess. That's part of what makes this game great: all shapes and sizes can play, and it takes all shapes and sizes to make a good team. Thankfully, performance-enhancing drugs aren't a huge problem in soccer. Case in point: FIFA conducted 23,842 tests in 2005, producing just 78 positives.

Read the whole story at Reuters, UK »

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