By David Owen
April 29 – Iranians have taken over from Brazilians as the worst football offenders in a new report on anti-doping rule violations in the World Cup year of 2014 compiled by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Of a total of 80 football-related anti-doping rule violations committed in 2014, Iranians accounted for 10 of them – seven men and three women – three more than Brazil in second place
Saudi Arabia was third, with six anti-doping rule violations, just ahead of Colombia, New Caledonia and Qatar, each with five. New Caledonia’s violations were all non-analytical, meaning they came as a consequence of evidence-based intelligence rather than detection of a prohibited substance in an individual’s body.
The 2014 figures represent a slight improvement from 2013, when 86 anti-doping rule violations were football-related. The 2013 report showed that Brazilians were responsible for 10 of these 86 violations and Portuguese for seven. Iran was then one of a cluster of nations who shared third place with five violations each, the others being Belgium, France, Greece and Italy.
Football received and analysed more samples than any other sport, ahead of athletics and cycling. Of these 31,242 football samples, 144 – equivalent to 0.46% – resulted in adverse analytical findings. Rather fewer than half of these – 69 – led to anti-doping rule violations; the eleven remaining violations were non-analytical.
The analysis, WADA’s second anti-doping rule violations report, showed that 1,693 sanctions were levied across all sports for anti-doping rule violations committed in 2014. The sanctions were meted out to athletes and athlete support personnel from 109 countries in 83 sports. The report discloses that 217,762 samples were received and analysed in all, with 2,287 – around 1.05% – resulting in adverse analytical findings.
The new figures coincide with a move by UEFA to suspend Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho for 30 days after it opened disciplinary proceedings against him following a failed drugs test.
The suspension is provisional until a final decision is taken by UEFA’s control, ethics and disciplinary body. The player tested positive for what is thought to be a type of fat burner after the Merseyside club’s Europa League win against Manchester United last month.
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