Cave paintings as far back as 3,000 BC depict wrestling tournaments. Ancient monuments in Egypt indicate a variety of sporting events. Greece held the first Olympic Games in 700 BC, a tradition we all know very well today. The list goes on all the way up to modern day sports. So what is my point? There is one universal trait among man (and women to be politically correct) – we love competition.
Think about it, in America alone we have the World Series, the Stanley Cup and the Super Bowl. All of these events bring millions of fans who scream, cheer and sometimes fight over their favorite teams. Good/friendly competition is in our blood. Same goes for other countries around the world. This brings me to the topic of today’s post: Soccer more specifically the FIFA World Cup.
The FIFA World Cup is one of the few sports competitions that a variety of countries compete in. The tournament generally consists of about 30 teams from around world including: the United States, Italy, Germany, France and Spain to just name a few. The event only comes around every four years and is hosted by a different country each time. The 2014 World Cup is only a few months away and will take place in Brazil.
This is going to be an exciting World Cup as South America is known for its soccer teams. Sadly it is not known for its medical facilities. As the excitement for the World Cup grows so does the problems with its location; according to the Wall Street Journal the latest issue is Drug Testing. The labs in Brazil are not accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency, meaning the athletes drug tests cannot be completed there. The solution: collect the samples, preserve them the best they can and fly them to the nearest accredited lab.
Potential Problems with this Solution:
- Time – The lab they will be using is a 9 hour flight away causing major time issues for officials.
- Cost – Transportation of the samples including staff.
- Integrity of sample – As a live sample there are many things that could go wrong over 9 hours.
- Chain of Custody Errors – More hands touching samples than normal pose a threat to Chain of Custody.
A look at Drug Screening Practices:
Football – The NFL randomly tests its coaches and players regularly even during off season. Any player caught using performance enhancing drugs can be suspended for up to four games and even longer for more than one offense. The NFL is considered to be the most strict when it comes to drug testing.
Baseball – The MLB uses a program called the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. This program is designed to help end the use of banned substances and illegal drugs. Instead of randomly testing they test with reasonable cause. Any player caught using drugs is subjected to a suspension and/or a fine.
Hockey – The NHL administers two random drug tests per player, per year. A positive test, results in suspension and a mandatory attendance of a Substance Abuse/Behavioral Health program. More than 3 positive tests calls for a permanent suspension.
Soccer – Association soccer is known for its lack of testing, however; FIFA may have one of the more strict consequences when it comes to drug use with a two year ban for a first time offense. With that said each country has its own program for drug testing its teams.
Knowing how important titles are to teams and fans, it’s no surprise that testing is taken much more seriously when it comes to competitions such as the World Cup. After all as much as we love competition we love a fair game even more. Take Mark McGuire, Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds as good examples. Do you have an opinion on drug use in sports? Will Brazil’s lack of labs have much impact on the results of the 2014 FIFA World Cup? We want to know what you think in the comments below.