Doping in association football

The use of performance-enhancing drugs in association football (soccer) is not widely associated with the sport because of lack of evidence, unlike individual sports such as cycling, weight-lifting, and track and field. Like most high-profile team sports, football suffers from recreational drug use, the case of Diego Maradona and cocaine in 1991 being the best known example.

Incidence of the use of performance-enhancing drugs ("doping") in football seems to be low. However, much closer collaboration and further investigation seems needed with regard to banned substances, detection methods, and data collection worldwide.[1]

International associations


In the run-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Congress ratified the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, being the last of the Olympic sports to agree to "anti-doping".[2] FIFA applies the minimum two-year ban for first-time offenders, although there are exceptions. When a player accused of doping can prove the substance was not intended to enhance performance, FIFA can reduce the sanction to a warning in a first offence, a two-year ban for a second offense and lifetime ban in case of repetition.[3]

In 2014, the biological passport was introduced in the 2014 World Cup: blood and urine samples from all players before the competition and from two players per team and per match are analysed by the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses.[4]


UEFA announced three doping cases for its competitions in the 2006–07 season, four less than in the previous season. The three failed tests compromised two cases of cannabis and one for a high concentration of Betamethasone in a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier. In the 2006–07, UEFA carried out 1,662 tests in and out of competitions, including 938 players tested for the blood doping substance EPO.[5]

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