Anti-doping impetus for 2016/17

The new season will see UEFA's anti-doping drive gain further momentum, with players once again warned of the consequences if they are caught taking prohibited substances.

A UEFA doping control
A UEFA doping control ©

UEFA's drive to combat doping enters a new season with the European body pressing home the message that players who take banned substances risk facing heavy punishment.

Clubs taking part in this season's UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Youth League were brought up to date on UEFA's anti-doping requirements at workshops in Monaco last month.

They heard that, after its successful introduction last season, UEFA will continue implementing the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) steroids and blood module in its 2016/17 club competitions. The ABP monitors players over time, which can reveal the effects of doping and provide target testing intelligence.

In addition, they were told that UEFA will carry on coordinating the testing programme of the players participating in its competitions in collaboration with national anti-doping agencies (NADOs) who have signed an agreement with UEFA.

"The use of the WADA ADAMS database centralising the testing information, and the collaboration with NADOs, ensures that UEFA has a full picture of the doping tests conducted on players at international and national level," said UEFA anti-doping and medical head Marc Vouillamoz.

"With this information, UEFA can balance its own testing programme, because it knows the frequency of when and which players and teams are tested in Europe and across the world."

Plans for 2016/17 come off the back of a comprehensive test programme for UEFA EURO 2016 – the largest at a EURO final round. Before and during the tournament in France, UEFA cooperated closely with the NADOs of countries that took part.

Now, the objective for the coming campaign is to continue implementing an effective, deterrent and intelligent testing programme in conjunction with NADOs across Europe.

In addition to the 2,242 samples collected within the framework of the EURO 2016 testing programme, where no positive cases were reported, UEFA collected a total of 2,542 samples in its other club and national team competitions during the 2015/16 season.

In total, three players were sanctioned for doping by UEFA's disciplinary bodies. In two cases, the players in question received four-year bans – one such case is now pending at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, as the player appealed UEFA's decision – while another player was given a six-month suspension.

Out of the 2,542 samples, 1,808 were collected in-competition and 734 out-of-competition. Those included 415 blood samples and 802 EPO analyses, which all returned negative.