UEFA has continued its anti-doping campaign with a series of educational presentations to the eight teams taking part in the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in Iceland.
The one-hour sessions have been led by UEFA's head of anti-doping Marc Vouillamoz and Dr Jacques Liénard, president of the UEFA's anti-doping panel, carrying on a programme that began at the men's U19 finals in Northern Ireland two years ago and that now encompasses all youth final tournaments and the European U21 Championship. The aim of the presentations is to educate players in the dangers of doping, both in terms of their careers and their health, and to talk them through the procedure for a doping control in competition.
Vouillamoz has started each session with a definition of doping and has reiterated UEFA's stance on the issue – with a possible ban of two years for a first offence. "Doping is the use of prohibited substances or where a player refuses a doping control, tampers with the doping control or spoils it," he said. "This is something UEFA is really fighting against and it is you who is responsible - you are the one who will be sanctioned."
The detailed explanation of UEFA's in-competition doping procedure takes the players from the moment they are notified that they are required for a doping control through to how a sample is collected and then the documentation that has to be completed, among other things. Dr Liénard also lists the prohibited substances, warning players that common medicines may be banned and, whether they have been taken unknowingly or not, the sanctions remain the same.
He has gone on to explain that certain medicines are permitted in the event of illness or injury with a therapeutic-use exemption certificate, provided the correct protocol is followed. The sessions conclude with a reminder of how UEFA has stepped up its anti-doping drive in recent years, with more out-of-competition tests in the UEFA Champions League than ever. A video is then shown featuring the likes of Frank Rijkaard, Paolo Maldini and Henrik Larsson stressing the dangers of doping, with UEFA President Michel Platini adding: "Don't take drugs - they won't make you a better player."
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