Former FIFA medical chief says steroid use should be banned, in all cases

jiri dvorak

August 24 – Steroids allegedly used by a string of players during the 2010 World Cup should be completely banned, according to FIFA’s former chief medical officer.

Documents leaked by the notorious Fancy Bears hacking group earlier this week revealed 25 players were legally permitted to take Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) at the tournament in South Africa.

There is no suggestion any of the footballers did anything wrong since TUEs allow athletes to use otherwise banned substances to treat existing medical conditions.

Yet some experts believe they are administered when not really needed medically and Professor Jiri Dvorak (pictured), who left FIFA in 2016 having served as its most senior medical officer for 22 years, says substances like glucocorticoids cause long-term damage.

Glucocorticoids are commonly used to treat inflammation, joint pain, asthma and skin problems. They are prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), but athletes can ask for a TUE depending on how the substance will be administered.

Dvorak says that during his time at FIFA, strict rules were in place for TUEs including full documentation to support  applications.

“There were justified medical declarations to support the exemptions. But sometimes it depends on how the doctor is feeling whether he prescribes the steroids. I was always warning about the use of them and trying to educate people,” he told the BBC.

Dvorak sais Glucocorticoids “is a very potent drug, there can be serious side-effects.”

“At the moment, with an application for use, they are allowed. As a physician I am against glucocorticoids – their use should be stopped – full stop. The lesson is not being learnt.”

“I don’t think FIFA has changed the process since I left, so I am not worried that the system is being abused. When I look at other sports, like athletics and tournaments like the Olympics, compared to World Cups, we had far fewer TUEs in football.”

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