The 2008/09 season saw over 1,000 doping controls carried out in Europe's major club competitions. Two players tested positive – one for the asthma medication salmeterol, and one for anabolic steroids. In the latter case, the player in question, midfielder Nikolay Pavlov of Bulgarian club PFC Lokomotiv Sofia, was suspended for 24 months.
UEFA Champions League
A total of 729 UEFA Champions League players were tested last season, with 603 tests for EPO – the substance deployed to increase endurance and physical strength – all of which came back negative. UEFA carried out controls at 71 matches, where 284 players – two players from each team - were tested. From the first knock-out round onwards, all matches were tested. As in the previous season, out-of-competition controls were also carried out on players from all 32 teams in the Champions League group phase. The UEFA doping control officers (DCOs) made 45 visits to clubs, and total of 445 players were tested – with 395 tests for EPO, all of which came back negative.
In the light of recent debate about players' whereabouts, analysis of the teams' training schedules reveals that, on average, teams are "off-duty" for 0.84 days a week. In other words, the players are available to be tested more than six days a week.
In the UEFA Cup, controls were carried out at 91 matches, with a total of 364 players tested and 224 tests for EPO, all of which came back negative. There were no out-of-competition controls, although UEFA is considering a proposal to introduce them in the new Europa League.
Almost 400 players were tested by UEFA in other competitions during the 2008/09 season, and the controls are continuing in the youth tournaments this summer. The final figures for the total number of controls carried out and the number of positive cases will be published in September.
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