The match calendar in football covers most of the year, and together with pre-season team training, this leaves individual players with breaks of only a few weeks. Elite players often compete not only on the weekend, but also during the week. In addition, they also play in different teams at national and international level, further shortening any out-of-competition (OOC) periods.
FIFA has been active in developing new approaches in the fight against doping. One of the latest innovations was the introduction by FIFA of the so-called biological profile, including haematological parameters, in blood, and steroid profile, in urine. Any deviation may indicate a potential abuse of performance enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids or hormones and/or the manipulation of blood.
FIFA is currently establishing a database in order to monitor footballers during their professional career. Laboratory findings from different in and out of competitions controls are stored in a central database for comparison. This new strategy was launched on the occasion of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and applied to all participating players at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Football as a team sport has the highest athlete numbers of all sports, making effectiveness and efficiency of testing plans a condition sine qua non. The cost of organising, conducting, analysing and managing a single doping test is estimated at approximately USD 1,000 on average. Consequently, given the number of doping tests conducted on average each year in football globally, the current estimate for the annual cost for the fight against doping in football is approximately USD 30 million.