The ongoing spat between football's
global administrators and the World Anti-Doping Agency is largely ignored in
today's papers, ostensibly because it
is not very interesting.
However (excuse ED for a moment while it goes all Donal MacIntyre
pre-ice skating), it could have serious repercussions.
Yesterday, FIFA and UEFA rejected a WADA proposal that would
require players to inform drugs testers of their exact whereabouts for one hour
of every day.
Even though the system is already in use for sports such as
athletics and cycling, football doesn't
want to know - a stance that could jeopardise its status as an Olympic sport.
argument is that athletes in individual sports are easier to locate than those in
team sports, thus the rules governing the two should be different.
Frankly it makes no sense at all - surely team sportsmen are
easier to find because they're in a big
group? - but obviously that is not the real reason why football's biggest cheeses object to WADA.
Even though football is the most lucrative sport of all, ED is
fairly sure it does not have a serious drugs problem.
Yes, there have been instances of doping, notably at
Juventus in the 1990s. And former Marseille striker Tony Cascarino has written
how then-club president Bernard Tapie once stormed into the dressing room and
injected himself with an unknown substance in an attempt to persuade the
players to do likewise.
But if you want reassurance that there is little or no
systematic doping in the game, just look at how unprofessional most players
Even those who do not spend their nights out carousing are
pretty unfit by the standards of sports such as rugby, cycling and even cricket
(judging by photos of a red-faced, red-torsoed and red-haired Paul Collingwood
laying into a punch bag).
If teams were interested in improving their players' physical prowess, might it not be easier to make
them train for more than two hours a day before considering anything more
As long as a man who is physically incapable of exercising
between matches can get into the England squad, ED is not going to
worry about drugs.
Staggering complacency from a know-nothing blog might be one
thing, but from the sport's foremost
governing bodies? How could they be so cavalier about the spectre of cheating?
As always, this is all about power. WADA have done some
great work to eliminate doping but, like all evangelicals, they are very
insistent and very annoying.
They have been fiercely critical of football's supposedly lacklustre anti-doping controls -
former WADA chief Dick Pound (snigger) was particularly scathing about the 'failure'
to ban Rio Ferdinand for two years after his bout of amnesia.
FIFA and UEFA do not want these outsiders snooping around
their game, dictating their drug policy and, in all probability, making them
Surely it is a bit unnecessary making players reveal their
whereabouts at a specific time - don't
we already know?
So why don't the
testers stop faffing around and set up midnight raids on trendy London nightspots? They
could set up camp pretending to be paparazzi outside Bouji's, Mahiki and other exotic-sounding but ultimately
And if they need to know Ashley Cole's
location they can just ring up the Metropolitan Police.
Or, even easier, they could just ask Pele who is on drugs.
- - -
Peter Kenyon must be wondering what to do with his days. He
is unable to indulge in his usual spring pastime of undermining Chelsea's manager, since Guus Hiddink is leaving at the end
of the season anyway.
Chelsea's chief exec is instead concentrating on finding a
successor and spent much of yesterday batting away questions about Carlo
Ancelotti, in whom Roman Abramovich seems to have a baffling obsession.
ED doesn't know
what people see in Ancelotti - just because you are the manager of a top club
it doesn't make you a top manager, and Ancelotti's
recent record has been dismal.
True, he won the 2007 Champions League with Milan. But he has also seen Milan totally eclipsed by city rivals Inter,
he failed to reach the Champions League last season and, most unforgivably, he
has made little or no effort to reduce the average age of a squad so geriatric
they have had the team bath fitted with a mechanical lift.
If Abramovich wants an Italian manager, he should he look at
Gian Piero Gasperini and Cesare Prandelli, whose Genoa and Fiorentina sides are
breathing down Milan's neck in the
race for Champions League places.
But he won't
because nobody has ever heard of them.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Middlesbrough
chairman Steve Gibson: "If I was to sack Gareth Southgate, how would it
help the situation?" Er, Gareth Southgate would no longer be your manager.
You'd be amazed how often panic
FOREIGN VIEW: Early Doors is all about results. So it was
gratifying to learn that within hours of suggesting that Manchester City
give free admission to all fans, a top club took ED up on its suggestion.
Villarreal will let any unemployed season ticket-holders in
free next season, when they will probably be able to watch Champions League football.
"Season-ticket holders who
are on the dole will be allowed in free next year," club president
Fernando Roig said.
"The idea is to think of the
club's wider social base and those
who have been unlucky to lose their jobs so they can continue to watch football
in the Madrigal."
Roig added the club's board, coaching staff, players and sponsors would
combine to set up a fund to help subsidise the plan, with the precise details
agreed in the next few weeks.
COMING UP: Unless
a League Two encounter between Chesterfield and Rochdale
is your bag, today might be the day to get into Champions League handball. Flensburg take on Hamburg
tonight in an all-German encounter and, frankly, ED couldn't be more excited. Follow live scoring here from 19:15 UK