By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Following the publication, in 2016, of the WADA-commissioned McLaren Report on alleged Russian state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, FIFA is not taking any chances with its flag-ship tournament, which will be held in Russia from 14 June – 15 July 2018.
Accordingly, neither Russian doping control officers, nor any doping control laboratories in Russia, will be involved in the anti-doping control process, in order not to tarnish the event.
The head of the FIFA Medical Commission, Baron Michel D’Hooghe, who is Belgian and a medical doctor himself, has recently told the media as follows:
“My basic condition to lead the anti-doping policy in Russia is that everything would be done from the very beginning to the last point by FIFA without Russian intervention. That means the chaperons, who take the players from the field, will be designated by FIFA and will not be Russian.”
And has added that:
“The players will be brought to a doping control room where there will only be FIFA doctors, two FIFA medical people and no entrance for anybody who is not allowed to be there.
Everything will be sealed and brought to the control of the laboratory in Lausanne ….. I told the people in Russia that if something goes wrong, for the first time they will not be criticized as it will not be their responsibility.”
Let us hope that these special anti-doping control arrangements and measures will work well, in practice, for the benefit of the event and all concerned in it!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’