FIFA's medical bosses have rebutted complaints from surprise World Cup qualifiers Costa Rica about the rigour of the international federation's dope testing regime.
Medical chief Jiri Dvorak and commission chairman Michel D’Hooghe – who is also a member of the executive committee – reacted firmly to angry complaints by Costa Rica manager Jose Luis Pinto.
He was incensed when five of his players – plus the standard two – were pulled out for dope tests after their 1-0 win over Italy. Pinto suggested that small nations were being victimised.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Dvorak told a media briefing in Rio de Janeiro that world champions Spain and Portugal had both seen extra players tested. The only difference was that they had not seen any reason to make a fuss about it.
As Dvorak said: “If we do not do this we are not fulfilling our duties and then questions would be asked.” D’Hooghe added: “We don’t have to excuse ourselves for doing our job. Professor Dvorak informed the team doctor of Costa Rica about what we do but don’t ask us to excuse ourselves for making a good doping control.”
Dvorak then explained the context of additional checks on players involved in the Champions League Final and who had not thus been tested in the run-up to the finals.
He said: “When the Spanish team lost [against Chile] I was in Maracana for this match and in the Spanish team there were those players who participated in the Champions League so we tested, as well as the two as standard, an additional five players from Spain – also the Portuguese players who were in the Champions League Final including Cristiano Ronaldo.
“We explained to the team managers and physicians what we were doing but, of course, it has to be done unannounced.
“It’s not the most pleasant work but, in general, all the teams are absolutely co-operative including the Spanish team. It’s not easy to lose and then have seven players taken for doping controls but they didn’t have any complaints.”
The issue with Costa Rica was that five of their players had missed pre-tournament dope checks.
Pinto returned to theme in Belo Horizonte where his team face homeward-bound England today.
He said: “It was not done tactfully. Public opinion ended up thinking that FIFA feared something. Fine to do anti-doping controls but don’t give the idea that there is something amiss.
“Were they just thinking we ran too fast? We are very well prepared. I’d like to see Brazil subjected to the same thing.”
Outgoing World Cup-holders Spain would appear to be of comparative status.