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WADA happy with our anti-doping regulations, say FIFA

SOCCER'S world governing body FIFA and World Anti-Doping Agency appear to see eye-to-eye after a series of disputes between the two bodies regarding the fight to eradicate drug cheats from sport.

FIFA said yesterday it had been told it was in compliance with the WADA code, suggesting an end to the clashes over anti-doping regulations, in particular the 'whereabouts' rule requiring athletes to give three months' notice of where they will be for an hour each day.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said his organisation had received a letter from WADA regarding the 2009 edition of FIFA's anti-doping regulations.

Valcke said WADA had: "Confirmed that the 2009 edition of the FIFA anti-doping regulations complied with WADA in all respects -- the sole exception is article 54, which will be the subject of further discussion," he said.

"That article concerns the return of a player to training following suspension. We are asking that in a 12-month suspension, the player can start training after nine months," said Valcke.


FIFA President Sepp Blatter reiterated his view that WADA should be considered a "service for sport" rather than a "police" but said he was pleased differences had been dealt with.

"I had a long tele-conference with the president of WADA John Fahey, 10 days ago --- there is no problem between WADA and FIFA," Blatter told a news conference ahead of FIFA's congress in the Bahamas on Wednesday.

"The only problem we had in the past was WADA is not a police. I was upset that in some cases in the past, that every sportsman and sportswomen was (considered) suspected," said Blatter.

"We have agreed a wording which WADA is very happy with. WADA are the custodians, the guardians (of anti-doping), they work together with the international federations. FIFA has no problems, so we are very happy we got this letter," he said.

FIFA had demanded that out-of-competition tests take place only at club training facilities, and that players should not be tested during holidays to respect their private lives.

WADA has dismissed allegations that the anti-doping agency had appeased FIFA by watering down its whereabouts rule.

FIFA and European soccer body UEFA have pressed for changes, arguing the rule is unfair and should apply only to teams and not individual players.

Doping appears on the agenda for this week's FIFA congress.


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