Do Footballers Dope?

Do Footballers Dope?

The use of performance-enhancing methods is illegal in all sports. Moreover, it’s not fair to the other competitors. And it’s ruining the spirit of sports – it is an insult to sportsmanship, fairness, and the victory of the better athlete. There are many people in the world of sports who use them.

Doping is not only illegal but immortal, too – unfortunately, it is also widespread. We often hear about another star joining the ranks of famous athletes who were caught doping. When it comes to football, though, the number of proven doping cases is very low.

Why athletes dope?

Athletes are under constant pressure to perform. Their career, their livelihood can literally depend on how well they do on the turf. Sometimes, athletes resort to the use of these substances to speed up their recovery after an injury. Some of them – out of ignorance or lack of awareness – don’t even realize that the substances they take are banned. This doesn’t make their time spent sidelined as a punishment for resorting to such methods any shorter, though.

Doping in football

Do footballers dope? Well, the numbers show that the issue is present in the most followed sport in the world, too – but it’s by far not as widespread as in other sports. FIFA takes pride in association football being the sport with the highest number of samples collected each year – 30,000, on average. And FIFA’s statistics show that the number of positive tests is decreasing year after year – in 2011, 0.48% of them tested positive for banned substances, while in 2017, only 0.25% of them (a total of 97 of the 37,118 tests performed).

Perhaps it’s the strong hand of FIFA that makes this possible – the organization handles all the anti-doping programs for all its competitions worldwide and sets strong regulations that are enforced strictly.

Major doping scandals in 2019

One of last year’s biggest doping scandals that covered every single sport involved Russia, a country with a history of similar events. After altering the results of the tests every country is bound to submit to the World Anti-Doping Agency, the entirety of Russian sport was banned from participating in international events – including the Summer Olympics and the 2022 FIFA World Cup set to be hosted by Qatar – for four years.

Other than this blanket ban on all Russian sports, last year was free of major doping scandals in football. Other sports were not this lucky: Alberto Salazar, a former standout long-distance runner, and current track coach was handed a four-year ban for doping violations. Apparently, the coach possessed and trafficked testosterone – a banned substance – in a case that involved an endocrinologist sponsored by Nike. And the sportswear brand’s CEO, as well.

The use of performance-enhancing drugs might not be widespread in football but it’s not unheard of either. New chemicals, new methods are invented every year – it takes a lot of effort and strong enforcement of the rules to keep the greatest sport in the world clean and fair.