FIFA referees to undergo drugs tests

FIFA referees to undergo drugs tests

Referees are set to be subject to drugs tests, FIFA's medical chiefs have revealed.

Match officials now have to pass stringent fitness tests and the world governing body's medical experts say they should also be tested to make sure they are not taking performance-enhancing substances.

FIFA's chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak told a conference in Budapest: "We have to consider referees as part of the game.

"We have started to discuss this and this is something for the future which will be discussed to include possibly an anti-doping programme for referees.

"We do not have an indication that this is a problem but this is something we have to look at. The referees are a neglected population."

Michel D'Hooghe, the chairman of FIFA's medical committee, added: "The referee is an athlete on the field so I think he should be subjected to the same rules."

Meanwhile, the World Anti-Doping Agency's director general David Howman told the FIFA medical conference that they may change rules to allow players from team sports who are banned for doping offences to return to training - though not playing - earlier.

He said: "We are looking for ideas on how reductions for an early return to training can be done."

D'Hooghe said players in team sports were hit harder by drugs bans than individual athletes such as runners, who are still able to train and therefore return to competition as soon as their ban ends.

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