The International Olympic Committee may be giving football a big kick out of the Olympic programme if the sport fails to improve its drug tesing procedures. All other Olympic sports must provide the whereabouts of their athletes every single day of the year and football must do the same. However, UEFA and FIFA say this infringes on the privacy of players during the short off season they get. They boast that there are over 25,000 doping tests within football each year.
Let’s just take a little look at these two statements. First of all, the effects of drugs taken during the off season will have a huge effect on the recovery of footballers and also help them to maintain their fitness. It would be foolish to claim that drug abuse does not happen when there are millions of pounds at stake for each of these players if they don’t make the grade when the season starts in August. I think the fact that footballers rarely get caught does not at all show they are clean but simply highlights the weakness of the testing procedures. Many footballers cheat on the pitch, I think it is safe to assume they will cheat off the pitch also.
If I disect the statistic mentioned earlier: The biggest five leagues in the world are the Premier League, the Championship, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga. Between them they have approximately 2,500 players. If the 25,000 tests were spread between them that would be only 10 tests each player per year. Then you have other big leagues to throw in from Europe, Asia, South America, North America, Africa and Oceania and you can see that each professional player will only be tested a few times each. I know that a track and field athlete will have dozens of tests each year. What is football trying to hide?
I guess I am biased though. I think it is ridiculous and disrespectful to the Olympics that football uses the tournament as an Under 23 championship. It doesn’t go anywhere close to empodying the Olympic spirit and I would not be at all sorry if it lost its place (along with Tennis – PLEASE!) The Olympics is the greatest event in the world and all sportsmen and women should treat it as such.