UEFA has released further details of the blood-testing programme to be used at UEFA EURO 2008™, seeing it as another crucial deterrent in the fight against doping.
The UEFA Executive Committee decided at its meeting in Heerenveen, Netherlands on Saturday that blood tests will be carried out at all 31 matches in Austria and Switzerland, while the 16 qualifiers will also be subjected to out-of-competition blood-testing. The European governing body said today the decision "has further strengthened UEFA's tough stance against doping in football". In addition, UEFA President Michel Platini said it was crucial to guarantee "the scourge of doping is not allowed to taint the world of football".
Saturday's ruling means that in addition to testing urine for unauthorised substances, the blood of the two players per team selected at the end of each match for doping control will also be tested. This will allow doctors to check for illegal substances which have hitherto been hidden from urine-testing - including blood transfusions, synthetic haemoglobin and growth hormone. "The decision was taken based on the latest scientific knowledge and data as recommended by the UEFA Anti-Doping Panel and UEFA Medical Committee," said a statement. "It comes at a time when the World Anti-Doping Agency has set up a working group involving several stakeholders to develop international standards for introduction in 2008."
Mr Platini added: "Football has a very good reputation in the fight against doping, and now with the decision to introduce blood-testing at UEFA EURO 2008™, both at the competition and out-of-competition, we are further stepping up our controls. We must make sure that the scourge of doping is not allowed to taint the world of football and this is another weapon in our armament."
Activities stepped up
UEFA has stepped up its anti-doping activities over the past years, with an increased budget and more tests across the board in UEFA competitions, as well as the creation of an anti-doping unit within the European body's administration. UEFA introduced out-of-competition doping controls in the 2005/06 season. In 2006/07 all 32 UEFA Champions League teams were controlled at least once. In total, 51 visits were conducted, with 506 players tested, an increase of 83 players on the previous season. A total of 431 samples were tested for the banned substance EPO, with no positive cases reported.
Younger players are also being targeted to warn them about the dangers of taking drugs, especially recreational drugs. Education sessions take place at each youth final round, with each participating team attending a one-hour meeting where they are advised to take extreme care to avoid potentially damaging their careers.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.