9 July 2019

Spanish survey finds 95% of footballers unaware of WADA

Ninety five percent of 1,324 Spanish footballers from 88 teams questioned by researchers from the University of Granada were unaware of the existence of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and 97.4% were unaware of its Prohibited List. Just under half (46%) of those questioned are understood to be professional players, and 304 (23%) were members of ‘elite’ teams – understood to be those that compete in La Liga.

A further 308 (23%) were considered ‘non-elite professional’, understood to be those that compete in other Liga de Fútbol Profesional (LFP) divisions. Amateur players made up 330 of those questioned (25%); ‘elite’ u18 players made up 334 of those questioned (25%); and elite female players comprised 48 of those questioned (3.6%).

Five percent of the players admitted having used prohibited substances during their career and despite 97.4% being unaware of the Prohibited List, 23.7% of participants said they were aware of footballers who used prohibited substances. The results of the survey were published in the current edition of the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (JSAMS).

‘In view of the specialised scientific literature, although there are studies focused on other sports, this is unprecedented research at a national and international level, because of the difficulty of accessing this type of sample and because of the taboo nature of football doping’, explained the researchers in a statement issued by the University of Granada. ‘There is a significant lack of knowledge regarding doping amongst the players evaluated’, continued the researchers, adding that educational programmes from an early age could be a way of tackling this issue.

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