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Success for EURO anti-doping programme

UEFA's comprehensive anti-doping testing programme for UEFA EURO 2016, which began in January, was the largest ever conducted at a European Championship final tournament.

None of the 2,242 samples collected within the EURO testing programme were positive
None of the 2,242 samples collected within the EURO testing programme were positive ©Sportsfile

UEFA's comprehensive anti-doping testing programme for UEFA EURO 2016 – carried out before and during the tournament – has been a resounding success.

The European body has worked closely with the national anti-doping organisations (NADOs) of the countries that took part in the tournament in France, to coordinate and implement the largest-ever anti-doping programme conducted at a European Championship final round.

In its post-tournament analysis of the testing data stored in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) database for each of the 552 players who participated at EURO, UEFA reports that 2,242 samples in total – including urine, serum and blood samples – were collected from the start of January onwards. This represents an average of 4.06 samples collected per player within a period of just over six months.

None of the 2,242 samples collected within the framework of the EURO testing programme were positive.

Some 1,464 out-of-competition samples were collected by UEFA and NADOs from EURO players who gathered with their national teams during the international week of friendly matches in March, in the immediate pre-tournament period at the end of May and beginning of June, and at training base camps and team hotels between matches during the tournament.

A further 442 samples were collected by UEFA during tests performed in-competition at the 51 EURO matches, representing an average of 8.67 samples per game.

In addition, 336 samples were collected from the EURO players when they were tested by their NADOs in domestic competitions, and by UEFA if they were participating in the second half of last season's UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

The Paris WADA-accredited laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry successfully delivered a complex analytical menu designed to test for specific substances, in addition to the standard WADA analytical menu. In-competition samples were analysed within 24 hours of receipt by the laboratory, to ensure that the initial results were known before the teams' next games.

"UEFA feels that the testing programme can be viewed as a role model of cooperation between a sporting organisation and NADOs at continental level, in terms of gathering intelligence and acting as a deterrent to doping," said Marc Vouillamoz, UEFA's head of medical and anti-doping.

"The success of the EURO 2016 anti-doping programme is collective," he added, "and UEFA is thankful to the NADOs who contributed to the programme. Cooperation with the French NADO 'Agence Française de Lutte contre le Dopage' (AFLD) was outstanding during the tournament."

The AFLD president Bruno Genevois also welcomed the quality of the cooperation between UEFA and the French agency. "I hope we can continue this collaboration," he said.

Under UEFA's new sample storage programme, samples from EURO 2016 and the major club competitions will be stored long-term. This means that UEFA will be in a position to reanalyse any samples when required due to intelligence received, or new analytical techniques becoming available.