The only mention of doping in professional football I am aware of is that together with the cyclists in the Fuentes doping network evidence against around 150 other athletes was found including "high profile football players". Since there is a lot of money and a lot of players involved in international football and there are several relevant aspects that can be improved by performance enhancing drugs I would expect at least some cases of illegal doping in football.
So the question is are there prominent doping cases in professional football and if not is it because of lack of tests or can football generally be considered as clean?

  • What are the current processes for testing for doping (in professional football)?
    – user527
    Nov 8, 2012 at 14:19
  • From the third link in posdef's answer it seems that there are no out-of-competition tests and all test seem to be announced to the club. So apparently no unannounced training or home visits for test.
    – Trudbert
    Nov 8, 2012 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


This is rather speculative; we can't really give a reason why there are fewer cases in football compared to other sports, without being subjective and speculative.

That aside a good starting place to look for information is the wikipedia article on the matter, there is also a listing of players involved in cases, some of which are better known than most others (e.g. Diego Maradona, Frank de Boer, Edgar Davids, Adrian Mutu...)

I also found another article which picks up a few specific cases, including Maradona testing positive for ephedrine after a World Cup 94 game, Jaap Stam (former Dutch national and occasional captain) with nandrolone, Abel Xavier (former Portuguese national) with dianabol (a banned steroid which got him a 12 month ban), and finally Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd and England centreback, occasional captain) due to skipping a doping test.


Football is definitely not clean, Juventus had their medical department raided in the 90s and it was described as being like a "small hospital". At the time most of what they were using was not illegal but would be considered doping today. There are also plenty of stories of players being involved in doping without being caught, there is a video of Fabio Cannavaro hooked up to a drip before Parma's uefa cup win. He also failed a test at Juventus which they claimed was due to medicine taken for a wasp sting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabio_Cannavaro

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