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FIFPro proposes a number of changes to the Whereabouts system of WADA, the World Anti Doping Agency. The worldwide footballers’ association is of the opinion that the current system is an example of inequality under the regulations, due to the fact that there are many different interpretations in the various countries.

 

Recently, FIFPro did research in the application of the Whereabouts system in the countries of  its member associations. Based on this research, FIFPro has drawn the conclusion that the application of the whereabouts in football is completely fragmented.

 

Due to fact that each national doping authority is free to define its own criteria for athletes to be drawn in its National registered Testing Pool (NTP), a patchwork quilt of systems has emerged, which obstructs harmonization and uniformity and encourages inequality under the law.

 

The criteria used vary quite considerably, some are vague or completely arbitrary. One country selects only players from the national team, while another country selects most of the players in the top divisions. In the Netherlands and Norway no footballers have been selected for the NTP. In Italy (5) and Sweden (7) only a handful of players are selected. But in Ireland and Switzerland the situation is totally different: 500 Swiss footballers and 700 Irish players are included in the NTP. The most remarkable criteria are being used in France, where players are assigned by drawing lots: prior to each season one player per club is chosen.

 

Secondly, it has emerged that the requirements concerning the information that must be submitted differ from country to country. In one country team reporting is stipulated (a player only has to submit his team activities), while in other countries the individual players are expected to report the one hour time slot for every day. This one hour time slot is an uninterrupted period of 60 minutes between 6 am and 11 pm in which the athlete must be available for a doping control. As a result, one player must accept a greater intrusion into his privacy than another player.

 

Finally, it appears that in some countries the players themselves submit their whereabouts, while in other countries the club has to submit this information. Regarding that last possibility, the player is always responsible for a correct submission of his residential details.

 

These various matters encourage inequality under the law. Why should a player in one country have to comply with the whereabouts obligation while a footballer in a different country is not required to do so? Why is it sufficient for one footballer to submit team activities while the other must also submit a one hour time slot and can be tested at his home?

 

The WADA aims for harmonization, but it will not achieve it in this way. But uniformity is essential in the application of the whereabouts in football.

 

In order to achieve this, FIFPro proposes a number of changes to the current system.

  • Whereabouts should be restricted only to training activities. This measure is sufficient to address the marginal threat of doping in football. In this way, there are enough control moments without a considerable intrusion into the private lives of footballers.
  • The submission of information should not be the responsibility of the individual player but of the club. This keeps administrative red tape for the players to a minimum and ensures that absurd situations such as that at Club Brugge can be prevented in the future.