WADA to play minor role in World Cup drug testing

MONTREAL - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) does not plan to play a significant role in drug testing during next month's World Cup in South Africa, president John Fahey said on Sunday.

According to Fahey, drug testing at the June 11-July 11 tournament is the responsibility of FIFA, the sport's world governing body,

"FIFA is a code compliant member of WADA and we are aware of a very robust program that has been put in place for the World Cup," WADA president John Fahey told reporters after weekend meetings with the agency's executive committee and foundation board.

"But that is a program they will run and there is no reason to believe they will not do it very well."

Fahey had expected to discuss drug testing protocol for the World Cup with FIFA representatives on Sunday but the meeting was scuttled as volcanic ash grounded some European flights and prevented some football officials from attending the meetings.

Fahey and director general David Howman both said they will be in Africa for the tournament, but WADA will do little more than conduct a spot check of drug-testing procedures.

"We cannot send a team to a tournament that goes six or seven weeks. So we are looking at sending in a team that will do what I call a spot audit over a weekend or three or four days," said Howman.

"We were hoping to discuss that this weekend with FIFA but the volcano has proved to be a problem, but we will engage in the coming days."

Relations between WADA and FIFA had been strained by the controversial whereabouts rule that requires athletes to give detailed schedules of their whereabouts for drug testing.

Howman said their differences played no part in determining the level of WADA's involvement in the World Cup.

"Their rules are in line, their testing program is in line," said Howman. "What they will do in competition is fine, it meets all the standards."

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