SAO PAULO: The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil serves as a benchmark in the development of a new strategy in the fight against doping, with the introduction of player biological profiling including blood and urine samples for the first time at a FIFA World Cup.

According to the report on the first phase of the programme released by the FIFA Anti-doping Unit, 800 players – 91.5 per cent of the players included on the final lists – were tested through blood and urine prior to the competition as part of this new strategy.

In accordance with FIFA Anti-doping Regulations, the remaining players can and will be tested at any time during the competition. No positive cases were reported from the out of competition controls.

FIFA’s chief medical officer, Prof. Jiri Dvorak, said: “It was a major undertaking to implement it on such a large scale and considering the playing season, and I have to say that all players, team doctors and managers welcomed the new approach. It is so important to understand that we all want to eliminate doping in football and in sport in general.”

Dr Michael D’Hooghe, chairman of the FIFA medical committee, added: “Although we can propose excellent results in our fight against doping, this fight remains one of the most important medical activities of FIFA.

“We are happy and proud that, for the first time in our history, all players participating to the FIFA World Cup will be controlled as well by blood as by urine examination.”

David Howman, the World Anti-Doping Agency director-general, said: “We welcome the decision taken by FIFA to carry out this initiative. This is the first time in major sport competition history that participating athletes were systematically tested prior to the competition for the establishment of individual biological profiles including both blood and urine parameters.

“We encourage other sports to follow suit in adopting the Athlete Biological Passport as an effective means to protecting the rights of the clean athlete.”

In addition to the pre-competition controls, two players from each team will be tested for blood and urine at each match as part of the routine in-competition doping controls in accordance with the FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations.

The results of the different analyses, including as well previous competitions such as UEFA EURO 2012, the UEFA Champions League editions of 2013 and 2014, the FIFA Club World Cup 2011, 2012 and 2013 and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013, will be compared in order to detect potential deviations that may indicate an abuse of performance enhancing drugs.