FIFA fears African herbal stimulants

FIFA is afraid that players at the World Cup could use undetectable stimulants derived from traditional African medicines that aren’t currently banned substances.

FIFA medical committee chairman Michel D’Hooghe said that he wants the World Anti-Doping Agency to analyse some African plants that could give athletes an unfair advantage.

Many African plants that have remained unknown in the Western continent can produce by-products that are not on the World Anti-Doping Agency list and are undetectable in doping tests.

"We received a lot of examples, going from things that we know but also going into absolutely unknown things for me. If I don't know the names, how can I know what they contain," D'Hooghe said of the plants. "This is certainly a challenge for WADA ... this could be a big challenge for football because we try to live in a football world without doping."

South African team doctor Ntlopi Mogoru commented: "In Africa, a lot of players use traditional medicines and, unfortunately because of WADA, there are no tests to detect those things and it becomes a bit of a problem for doping in the whole world. It's from the players' cultural backgrounds."

"Some cultures will believe if you take one of these traditional medicines it enhances your performances. Some of them might be taking this medication knowing that the side-effects enhance performances, but the primary intention was just to heal ailments. They can't be detected by the tests and they are not illegal."