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Doping in Soccer/Football

The Clinic is the only place on Cyclingnews where you can discuss doping-related issues. Ask questions, discuss positives or improvements to procedures.

Doping in Soccer/Football

29 Oct 2009 23:49

Just wanted to hear some people's opinions on this. I mean, we have all heard of two big Spanish teams being linked to OP, and team/s in Italy with their masses of legal drugs. But how widespread do people think it is in football/soccer? Try as I might, I can't imagine Fulham or Wigan players injecting themselves with whatever before a match.

(I don't think there is a thread on this, but I apologise if there has been - the only other sports I have seen talked about in any depth are US football and baseball.)
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30 Oct 2009 00:43

I don't know how good the testing is. If it's reasonably good then I bet most players wouldn't risk it - there's not the same immediate benefit that there is from doping in cycling, and you have to be a nutter to be a cyclist in the first place.
Sprocket01
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30 Oct 2009 01:54

Are players tired after games? Do they lose their breath after sprinting to make a play?

If your answer is 'yes' to either of these questions, then I'd sure that some have tried doping.

As far as risking it...

How many soccer players make over 1 million euro per year? How many cycling stars make over 1 million euro per year?

They have a lot more reasons to risk it.
User avatar Willy_Voet
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30 Oct 2009 02:05

As for the risk, there have been lots of instances of footballers coming out with their drug problems - cocaine mostly - yet their tests never showed up positive?

Also, I'm sure I remember reading that clubs are notified when testers come, so they can just send players home from training in advance. Or something like that - vague I know, but I can't find a link anywhere..
User avatar luckyboy
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30 Oct 2009 02:11

With these other sports there isn't the same performance benefit, is what I meant. Of course it is going to help, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to play much better or score a goal. Therefore they probably weigh the risks differently to cyclists. And you could argue the higher pay they receive makes it a bigger risk to take - they don't want to give that up for an uncertain benefit.
Sprocket01
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30 Oct 2009 02:30

Jaap Stam and Edgar Davids both went for roids.

AC Milan and Juventus had an uncover investigation from a tv journalist earlier this decade.

Ofcourse, soccer/football is a hybrid sport, and requires a little strength plus a modicum of stamina. They rarely exhaust their potential in training both disciplines, and reaching their potential. They will never exhaust the o2 system during a game. There will be local muscular failure instead.

IMO, doping will help, mostly in recovery, and in rehab from injury. The doping will be less prevalent for sports requiring highly acutre neuromuscular co-ordination, the so-called, hand-eye co-ordination sports. Tennis, soccer.

But rehab, and recovery between games. Could be a definite advantage. On the field, less so.

One other advantage, it would allow training to be less intense for the physical preparation, and more focused on skill adaptation that o2 and power development.
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30 Oct 2009 02:45

While I agree with it being a sport more about hand-eye coordination, if they used EPO or blood doping, they would be able to run about for longer which would still be an advantage..
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30 Oct 2009 02:46

I would have to bet that there is just as much doping in soccer (sorry I'm American) and Tennis and at least several other "skill sports" as there is in cycling.
I see three reasons.
1. There is more money in some of these other sports. More money means more competition, hence more reason to cheat and more available funds as well.
2. Less testing, so why not?
3. Most important. Sports like these are not just skill sports they are speed/skill sports. You could have the best tennis strokes in the world but if you are always late getting to your opponent's ball it will do you no good. Same with soccer, if you don't beat your opponent to the ball it doesn't matter how good your skills are. Also these games go on for 2-4 hours and if you don't have the stamina and fitness you will not compete.
"Science flies us to the moon. Religion flies us into buildings."

Gods don't kill people, people with Gods kill people.
User avatar Hugh Januss
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30 Oct 2009 06:21

Hugh Januss wrote:I would have to bet that there is just as much doping in soccer (sorry I'm American) and Tennis and at least several other "skill sports" as there is in cycling.
I see three reasons.
1. There is more money in some of these other sports. More money means more competition, hence more reason to cheat and more available funds as well.
2. Less testing, so why not?
3. Most important. Sports like these are not just skill sports they are speed/skill sports. You could have the best tennis strokes in the world but if you are always late getting to your opponent's ball it will do you no good. Same with soccer, if you don't beat your opponent to the ball it doesn't matter how good your skills are. Also these games go on for 2-4 hours and if you don't have the stamina and fitness you will not compete.


you are right... but. The returns are marginal. And it is very much a function of declining return.

The athletes in these sports are well below their potential, if they trained like a full time athlete in an Olympic discipline. (running, track/field, swimming, cycling, weightlifting). But to meet their potential in a hand-eye co-ordination sport, they only have to reach a threshold benchmark. Once they meet that benchmark, it really it inconsequential if they drop their 40yard sprint time by 0.1 of a second, or can bench press another 100lbs.

Now, there are certain players, who may benefit. IE. A tennis player, who uses their speed as a weapon. But they are very much a rarity.

I do note that Michael Jordan put on alot of upper body muscle mass, and then became perhaps the greatest post player that has been at 6'6" in the swing/shooting guard position. No one could touch him when he had someone on his back at the elbow from 18 feet.
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30 Oct 2009 10:26

luckyboy wrote:Just wanted to hear some people's opinions on this. I mean, we have all heard of two big Spanish teams being linked to OP, and team/s in Italy with their masses of legal drugs. But how widespread do people think it is in football/soccer? Try as I might, I can't imagine Fulham or Wigan players injecting themselves with whatever before a match.


Logic would suggest that they are running big programmes. The returns (or often rather the consequences of failure) are so enormous for individuals and teams that any professionally run club will be looking for every possible marginal gain. A club like Hull City will lose tens of millions if they're relegated; they've invested heavily to try to secure the returns of the EPL and could easily be in a position where the whole organisation folds if they lose out on anticipated income. Or take one of the top clubs, Liverpool: they're hugely reliant on a few key players - a huge organisation reliant on the fitness of a handful athletes to secure Champions' League positions and thereby service debt. It is only logical that you'd look for every marginal gain, whether it's improving players' endurance of the length of a match, or their ability to recover to play again in back-to-back matches, or their ability to recover from long-term injuries.

Then imagine how much easier it is to dope for a footballer than for a cyclist. Footballers have a permanent base, with on-site medical facilities and their own security systems. You only leave the base for single-day trips for away games. It's the direct opposite of cycling teams which have no permanent base or infrastructure and have to drag themselves around Europe and stay in hotels most of the year. Think of how many cycling doping cases have broken simply because of border controls (Festina, Rumsas) or how many more rumours stem from suspicious junk dumped at hotels, or because riders/teams don't have their own infrastructure and have to use someone else's (Fuentes, Vienna, Freiburg).
R.0.t.O
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30 Oct 2009 12:05

Just a couple of comments. During one of the World Cups back in the early 1980s a Scottish player got caught taking amphetamines. The issue of the teams knowing when the testers are going to turn up has been cited a number of times in the media. Finally I think someone mentioned tennis. I believe that McEnroe has stated that he was given steroids over a number of years in the 1980s, but that they were legal at the time!
stephen-48
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30 Oct 2009 12:07

Prolonged exposure to lactate impairs your hand-eye coordination, and premiership players cover 10km per game, much of that is running quite hard. They've every reason to dope.

Arsene Wenger once commented that they (Arsenal) were seeing some strange blood values in the pre-signing medicals when they got players from Spain but that they normalised once at the club. You can probably find the exact quotation online.

Rugby, on the other hand, is rife with anabolic steroids. The players are getting so strong that there is an annual symposium to study the changing injury patterns because they way it's going, people will start getting killed.
keen_but_slow
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30 Oct 2009 12:27

Football use blood manipulation. EPO was used in first by Italian clubs (thanks Ferrari, Cechini,...) when they began to beat all team in the last 20mn, their players were much more fresher than their opponents. Spaniard followed then English and finally all other countries.
To be skilled without physical means is nothing in football. For exemple Ronaldhinho is one of the top 3 skilled, but he don't play because of his lack of training.
Playing 2 times a week requiers a good recovering, so a need to finish a game fresher.

There is much more EPO produced than used by medical staff. All riders of the world could never use that black EPO.
Who are using it? Ski-runner are few like many other sports. Only football has enough pro player to afford a such comsumption.
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30 Oct 2009 13:24

Sprocket01 wrote:...
And you could argue the higher pay they receive makes it a bigger risk to take - they don't want to give that up for an uncertain benefit.

One of the reasons for higher pay if for the doping in the first place. So I don't know what you mean by not doing the doping because is too risky. I can find millions of $ reasons for doping. Not to mention that if the testing system is not as efficient as in Cycling (Is not good either but it is probably one of the better ones out there) then the chances of being caught are very low. Just a question, how many soccer players has been caught doping in the last decade? To me doping (At least with recuperation meds) is a sure bet in soccer.
User avatar Escarabajo
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30 Oct 2009 13:35

keen_but_slow wrote:Prolonged exposure to lactate impairs your hand-eye coordination, and premiership players cover 10km per game, much of that is running quite hard. They've every reason to dope.

Arsene Wenger once commented that they (Arsenal) were seeing some strange blood values in the pre-signing medicals when they got players from Spain but that they normalised once at the club. You can probably find the exact quotation online.



Here you go

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/3726928.stm
Frosty
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30 Oct 2009 13:42

poupou wrote:Football use blood manipulation. EPO was used in first by Italian clubs (thanks Ferrari, Cechini,...) when they began to beat all team in the last 20mn, their players were much more fresher than their opponents.


After the EPO test came in, Italy went a few years without getting a team into the last 16 of the Champions League. Probably coincidence.
keen_but_slow
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30 Oct 2009 17:51

blackcat wrote:Now, there are certain players, who may benefit. IE. A tennis player, who uses their speed as a weapon.

Anyone thinking the same as me?
Image

Some interesting stories from Steroid Nation:

"Reports suggest soccer star Ronaldo's early steroid use led to current knee injuries":
http://grg51.typepad.com/steroid_nation/2008/02/reports-of-socc.html

"Soccer great Pele wants soccer drug-cheat Maradona stripped of medals":
http://grg51.typepad.com/steroid_nation/2008/04/soccer-great-pe.html


Also, a somewhat interesting fact on Argentine superstar Lionel Messi:

"His sinuous style of play is a product of his low centre of gravity, something that may have been affected by the growth-hormone deficiency from which he suffered as a child. He was diagnosed at 11 and he needed extensive and expensive treatment to get him through his adolescent development – and £500 a month was too much for a family from a modest background in Rosario.

Without the treatment we would never have heard of Messi. Newell's Old Boys helped out but when they decided they could not afford it, Barcelona stepped in. He was 13 then and within three years he was in the first team."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/european/championsleague/5099857/Franck-Ribery-the-man-to-challenge-Lionel-Messi-and-Barcelona.html

(PS: I'm not calling Messi a cheat, just found it interesting.)
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30 Oct 2009 18:51

I think that with the way sports are now we have to abandon the "innocent until proven guilty" philosophy and assume that something is going on.

Are we to assume that doping occurs in things like amateur cycling, cross country skiing and biathlon but not football or tennis?

Modern footballers are running almost 10 kms a match and they are playing at least 50+ games for their clubs and also in some years playing for their national teams as well.

In tennis, you see games where the players are playing just as hard after 4 hours. When Nadal started winning at around 18 he certainly didn't look 18.
podilato
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30 Oct 2009 19:16

goggalor wrote:...
"His sinuous style of play is a product of his low centre of gravity, something that may have been affected by the growth-hormone deficiency from which he suffered as a child. He was diagnosed at 11 and he needed extensive and expensive treatment to get him through his adolescent development – and £500 a month was too much for a family from a modest background in Rosario.

Without the treatment we would never have heard of Messi. Newell's Old Boys helped out but when they decided they could not afford it, Barcelona stepped in. He was 13 then and within three years he was in the first team."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/european/championsleague/5099857/Franck-Ribery-the-man-to-challenge-Lionel-Messi-and-Barcelona.html

(PS: I'm not calling Messi a cheat, just found it interesting.)

Let's call it a TUE.:D
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31 Oct 2009 14:08

keen_but_slow wrote:Rugby, on the other hand, is rife with anabolic steroids. The players are getting so strong that there is an annual symposium to study the changing injury patterns because they way it's going, people will start getting killed.


One of the rugby league clubs (can't remember which) has had a suspicious number of over-muscled young players who have died suddenly in the past few years. That is one sport that definitely needs to clean up its act.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was doping going on in football of some sort, because the amounts of money at stake are so vast.
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