The late great Diego Maradona was considered by many as the greatest footballer of all time. His flair and skill on the field left opponents speechless and gained praise from supporters all around. However, he was infamous for his usage of drugs too being banned from the sport for Cocaine intake in 1991. Consumption of P.E.D (Performance Enhancing Drugs) has been simultaneously associated with sports as they have known to provide a substantial advantage for athletes when pitted against their opponents. However, not all cases are blatant as recently Ajax F.C goalkeeper Andre Onana opened up on his ban for drug use. He felt ill and consumed his wife’s Lasimac medication seeking to find relief for his sickness. It proved to be in fact more harmful than solve his problems as he was banned initially for 12 months but was reduced to 9 on appeal. The Dutch players Union were disgusted by the ban stating it was disproportionate and incomprehensible.
Ensuring mandatory tests before games
Testing before games is one way to eliminate drug use in football. Players are known to provide urine and blood samples before matches to ensure there is no substance in their bodies and the competition is fair between them and their opponents. This has given them a great advantage to help fight this issue, but they must make it stricter to ensure they wipe out drug use from football completely. The organisations must also be careful to distinguish which drugs provide performance enhancement and which don’t in order not to wrongfully accuse the person who was not guilty in the first place. However, the player must also not be allowed to play in the match to avoid circumstances like the one that happened to Andre Onana.
Serious consequences for positive drug test
The punishment must be severe in order to have any chance of eradicating drug use in sport for good. Bans, and fines alone would not be sufficient, but the consequences of early death must be made real to athletes for them to really consider quitting drugs. In case of cheating where athletes provide a wrong sample or unwillingness to give the test, players must be penalised and wait on the final verdict to decide the severity of the punishment. Players must also be sent to counsellors to get support and help to overcome using illegal substances in order for them to get their life back on track and thrive in the sport for which they were born to play. The beautiful game must not succumb to performance enhancing drugs used heavily rather on creating measures to eradicate the issue and keep the game pure for both athletes and fans.
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Football with Syringe Image Credit: Irish Times