UEFA is recognised as one of the world's leading team-sport organisations in the fight against doping, and the organisation continually strives to ensure that its education and testing programmes remain at the cutting edge of science and recognised good practice in all areas of prevention and detection.
Any player participating in a UEFA competition may be required to undergo a doping control, not only after a match, but also out-of-competition. Doping controls may include samples of blood and urine, as well as screening for substances such as EPO and human growth hormone. No advance information is given as to when controls will take place.
To illustrate the breadth of UEFA's work in this area, in the 2014/15 season, UEFA collected 2,388 samples (2,073 urine and 315 blood) across all its competitions, with 1,700 of them (1,401 urine and 299 blood) collected in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. In the UEFA Champions League, samples were collected both in- and out-of-competition. There were no positive cases in either of these competitions. In other competitions, UEFA collected 688 urine samples.
For the 2015/16 season, UEFA is introducing the steroidal module of the athlete biological passport to its testing programme. This monitors an athlete’s steroidal variables over time; these steroidal variables form a `steroid profile´ that is established from an athlete’s urine samples. Variations in the steroid profile may be indications of steroid doping, as well as providing intelligence for target testing. As such, it will help UEFA's testing programme remain at the forefront of the fight against doping.
In addition, the 2015/16 season sees the introduction by UEFA of a long-term storage programme for samples to increase deterrence. UEFA will then be in a position to re-analyse any samples when required due to intelligence received or new analytical techniques becoming available.
Cooperation agreements have also been signed for this season with the National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) of teams competing in the UEFA Champions League. Agreements are in place with various countries, and more will follow as the programme expands across Europe. This cooperation provides for more harmonised test distribution planning, will reduce unnecessary duplication of testing, and will facilitate the sharing of information relating to player biological profiles and intelligence data to identify potential doping.
The 2015/16 campaign will finish with UEFA EURO 2016 in France. UEFA has planned an extensive testing programme to ensure that the expanded tournament, with 24 teams, remains free of doping. UEFA will start conducting tests on all the finalists from the beginning of January, with a combination of urine, whole blood and serum samples being collected in- and out-of-competition. Tests will also be conducted at each of the 51 matches in France, involving at least two players from each team at every game.
UEFA’s doping controls are all conducted by UEFA’s own doping control officers (DCOs), a group of 56 medical doctors from 27 different countries. A new testing development programme will monitor DCOs’ performance at doping controls and will provide feedback, to both UEFA and the DCOs, to ensure improvements where necessary in the quality of doping controls, and a uniformly high standard of procedure.
An accompanying education programme is aimed specifically at young players. Instructive sessions on anti-doping are conducted during the final tournaments of all UEFA youth competitions, along with outreach programmes that aim to reinforce the important message.
In addition, educational materials are distributed to all players in UEFA competitions to help raise their awareness of anti-doping matters, inform them about UEFA's anti-doping regulations and procedures, and prevent them from committing procedural errors.
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