FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and Chairman Dick Pound of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) met in Zurich today and agreed to a collaborative effort between the two organisations, thus setting the roadmap for the finalisation of a formal agreement on doping matters.
In the highly productive consultative meeting, the two executives reached an accord on several key issues, including the concept of individual case management, and adopted a timeline to formally establish their agreements in a ceremony at the FIFA Centennial Congress in Paris in May 2004.
Today’s executive level summit follows another meeting between FIFA/WADA medical and legal experts earlier in the week (26 January), whereupon a common understanding was reached that all doping cases must be looked at and determined uniquely, in the spirit of individual case management.
Mr Pound also acknowledged and accepted the FIFA President’s offer to put FIFA’s worldwide network of doping control officers, which is entirely made up of medical doctors, at the disposal of his organisation to perform doping control procedures on behalf of WADA.
“We’re very anxious to tap in to FIFA’s worldwide network of doping control officers,” said Mr Pound. “The opportunity to take advantage of the technical, logistical and economic benefits of this network creates a win-win situation for us all. In addition, the message that will be delivered in the fight against doping in sport by the caretakers of the most popular sport in the world will be very powerful.”
The two organisations have been in close consultation with each other since the establishment of WADA in 1999. They intensified their work following the 2003 World Conference on Doping in Copenhagen and have continued to regularly exchange views and ideas concerning the review and application of the World Anti-Doping Code.
Next month, Dr Michel D’Hooghe, Chairman of the FIFA Sports Medical Committee, and FIFA Chief Medical Officer Prof. Jiri Dvorak, MD will present the FIFA/WADA agreements for ratification at the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in London on 29 February.
The roadmap will then continue to unfold as FIFA and WADA meet in March to forge ahead with a document regarding the practical applications of the accord.
The FIFA Congress – the world football governing body’s ultimate authority – would then bring the roadmap to a successful conclusion with the formal adoption of the World Anti-Doping Code at the FIFA Centennial Congress in Paris.
“Finalising FIFA and WADA’s commitment to each other can only serve to strengthen our common objectives in the fight against doping in sport,” said the FIFA President. “I am immensely pleased that today we have put ourselves on the right track, for both FIFA and WADA have every reason to make this agreement work.”