Doping control centres in place for Confeds Cup

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pretoria - As preparations for the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup enter the final stretch, innovative doping control centres have been set up at host venues across the country.

Speaking to BuaNews on Friday, Chief Medical Officer of the FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC), Dr Victor Ramathesele, said South Africa was all set to meet FIFA's medical requirements to conduct anti-doping tests during the tournaments.

He said all systems and security measures to transport tests from various centres at the host cities to the main laboratory in Bloemfontein were in place.

Tests will be taken to the Dope Control Laboratory in the University of Free State in Bloemfontein, where they would be able to provide results in at least 24 hours, Dr Ramathesele said.

"Our doping laboratory will be prepared to provide FIFA with necessary services and they (FIFA) are satisfied with the expertise and services offered at the center.

"Our responsibility is to assist FIFA at the doping laboratory and provide them with medical infrastructure at all stadiums and to provide the personnel that will assist the FIFA Chief Medical Officer in executing their necessary duties," he told BuaNews.

The LOC has also appointed a team of experts in various areas of healthcare to serve as its Medical Advisory Team to assist in the local implementation of FIFA's Health and Medical Service Plans for both events.

"Our medical team is supported by the FIFA Medical Officers appointed to coordinate medical activities, research and doping control services at each match venue.

"These individuals work in close collaboration with the LOC Venue Medical Officers, who are responsible for the management of all medical services in the match venue and Host City, including transfer of patients to accredited hospitals," Dr Ramathesele said.

The team will be working closely with Government service providers who will be managing emergency medical posts for spectators and the media in the stadium," the LOC Chief Medical Officer said.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Molefi Sefularo further said that South Africa's health system is more than ready to provide comprehensive medical services, including 24-hour emergency medical treatment and disaster management, during two of the world's biggest sporting events set to hit our shores.

"We are ready ...," Dr Sefularo said, adding that all essential health infrastructure would be in place in the host cities where games are to be played.

Regarding the country's state of readiness in the context of the Confederations Cup, which kicks off in a few weeks, Dr Sefularo said the provinces hosting the games have reported a satisfactory level of readiness in each instance covering 90 percent.