How to recognize doping in football matches as referee?

Earlier this week I blogged about the fact that European referees will not be tested for doping. But they should summon players to be tested if there’s suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs.

Cover of WADA magazine to Say NO! to doping

Cover of WADA magazine to Say NO! to doping

Referees have an active task next season when they suspect players of using doping, is what the UEFA Anti-Doping Regulations say. “If doping is suspected, the UEFA match delegate and/or the referee and/or the DCO are entitled to summon additional players to be tested.”

I was a bit surprized by that. How can a referee recognize doping or use of performance enhancing stuff? I checked out the website of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and found a pdf about recognizing doping.

The list contains a lot of things referees would not be able to check, such:

  • if the player has a difficulty with sleeping
  • if the player has quick weight gain or loss
  • if the player has hair loss

And what about these symptoms? characteristics and attitudes that come often with doping:

propensity for cheating
bending the rules
aggressive behavior
unruly, disrespectful of authority

If you look at this symptoms, the referee has to summon most players to be tested for doping. Don’t think that’s a good idea. They should only handle if they see someone injects a needle in his body.

No blood tests for referees in 2013/2014 by Uefa

Referees will not be no blood tests for referees who officiate in European competitions. Uefa announced blood testing across all its competitions in 2013/14, but confirmed to the Dutch Referee Blog that match officials will not be tested.

Uefa’s press officers could only say this: “There are no doping tests for referees.”

Players were only tested before during the Uefa EURO 2008 and Uefa EURO 2012 final tournaments. “Blood testing will take place both in and out-of-competition, and at a doping control players may be asked to give only urine samples, only blood samples, or both”, Uefa announced.

Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer, announced last year during a medical conference in Budapest there might come an anti-doping program for referees. “We do not have an indication that this is a problem but this is something we have to look at”, he said to AlJazeera. “The referees are a neglected population.”

Michel d'Hooghe. Photo creative commons.

Michel d’Hooghe. Photo creative commons.

Michel D’Hooghe, head of medical committee of Fifa, supported Dvorak: “The referee is an athlete on the field so I think he should be subjected to the same rules.”

What do you think: should referees be tested for doping or not?

Referees normally don’t talk about doping. Canadian ice hockey referee Bill McCreary did. He says NO! to doping in video on the World Anti-Doping Agency Facebook page.