WADA president Fahey calls on MLB leaders to test for human growth hormone

Thursday, March 18, 2010

WADA president calls on MLB to test for HGH

MONTREAL — World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey called on Major League Baseball and its players’ union to start testing for human growth hormone.

Fahey said that if they were serious about getting rid of cheats, MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association should immediately start out-of-competition testing and the collection of blood samples.

“We continue to read statements from the MLB commissioner and MLBPA representatives questioning the appropriateness of implementing blood testing in their league. This is nonsense,” Fahey said in a statement. “The blunt reality is that a number of doping substances and methods, including HGH, are currently detectable only through blood testing.”

Management and the union say they would accept a validated urine test for HGH and that their science advisers are checking into the accuracy of the blood test for HGH.

Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations, said WADA is not aware of baseball’s efforts and that the sport is “exploring the feasibility of conducting blood testing for HGH in the minor leagues as soon as practical.”

“Blood testing in the major leagues is subject to collective bargaining,” he said. “We have opened a dialogue on the issue of HGH testing with the major league baseball players.”

WADA says the blood test is valid.

“International scientific experts agree that HGH is found in extremely small quantities in urine and that a potential detection method for this substance in urine is years away,” Fahey said. “Joint blood and urine testing is the only way to go for sports organizations to ensure that they use proper means to protect the integrity of their sport.”

WADA has repeatedly criticized MLB for what it considers inadequate testing.

WADA has been pushing for more testing for HGH after a Britain rugby league player last month became the first athlete suspended for using the hormone.

“The key for effective HGH detection is enhanced use of intelligence and strategic out-of-competition testing,” Fahey said.

“If they are serious about getting rid of cheats, the MLB and the MLBPA should listen to those players who supported blood collection in the past few weeks and start implementing a testing program that includes smart out-of-competition testing. Blood sample collection has been conducted for years in many sports around the world without any problem. So why do others still refuse it?”

New union head Michael Weiner said his side still is investigating the blood test.

“We have discussed with the commissioner’s office the recent announcement by the UK Anti-Doping Agency, and we look forward to further discussions as we jointly explore how we might strengthen our program as it relates to HGH,” he said.

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