Warning young footballers against the dangers of doping is a key aspect of UEFA's anti-doping drive. Consequently, the continental governing body has continued its crucial campaign with educational sessions for the four teams at the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship in Switzerland this week.
Alerting to the danger
Each of the teams is given an hour-long presentation by UEFA anti-doping experts, assisted by representatives from UEFA's anti-doping unit. The sessions, which have been held since 2005 at every UEFA youth final round, have been crucial in alerting players to the dangers posed by doping to both their career and health.
UEFA anti-doping panel member Prof Jean-Luc Veuthey took teams including Norway through the doping control procedure at UEFA matches, including a message by Ronaldinho against the dangers of taking drugs. A DVD featuring anti-doping activities at UEFA EURO 2008™ – including post-match doping controls and blood and urine collection – was shown to the players and coaches.
Always seek advice
The young footballers learned about UEFA's anti-doping activities, and took part in a multiple-question quiz about doping. They were advised as to which substances were on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list. "You are responsible for what you put in your body," Prof Veuthey told them. "Always seek the advice of your team doctor, because you could face sanctions if you take certain food supplements, common medicines ... or even if you eat certain types of cake."
The two new rules that have come into effect this year include an increase in the minimum amount of urine needed for a valid sample – rising from 75ml to 90ml in accordance with WADA regulations. The urine has to reach a suitable 'specific gravity' which means it cannot be too diluted. The session helped the players learn just what is expected of them.
The potential negative side-effects of doping were emphasised to the assembled players. "It's essential that the players not only see the DVD film which gives them the information. We have to repeat and insist certain aspects, such as the taking of food supplements or recreational drugs – players have to know they can test positive as a result, even if they do not have the intention of doping themselves," Prof Veuthey told uefa.com.
Don't endanger your health
The message to footballers is clear. If you take drugs or dope yourself, you're endangering your career and your well-being – possibly in the long term as well. Prof Veuthey warned: "You have to look after your health if you play sport, because there is no clinical study which tells us that there will not be health problems at a later stage if you take drugs or prohibited substances."
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.