Anti-doping testing programme for UEFA Nations League finalists

UEFA's anti-doping unit has completed a comprehensive testing programme on the four teams that have qualified for the UEFA Nations League finals, to ensure a level playing field for all participants.

UEFA's testing programme ensures a level playing field for the four teams
UEFA's testing programme ensures a level playing field for the four teams ©UEFA

With the inaugural UEFA Nations League finals taking place over the next few days, UEFA's anti-doping unit has completed a comprehensive testing programme on the four qualified teams – hosts Portugal, England, the Netherlands and Switzerland – to ensure a level playing field for all participants.

In 2019, 169 samples have been collected on the players taking part in the finals by UEFA and collaborating National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs). A total of 84 of these samples were collected after a match, and 85 were collected at the training ground or at players' homes.

All samples were analysed at WADA accredited laboratories
All samples were analysed at WADA accredited laboratories©UEFA

All samples were analysed at World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratories, and all results were negative. In addition, UEFA doping control officers (DCOs) collected an extra 20 samples from players at team hotels following their arrival in Portugal.

The analysis will be completed within 48 hours to ensure that the results are known prior to the semi-finals, in which Portugal play Switzerland in Porto on Wednesday, and the Netherlands face England in Guimaraes on Thursday.

UEFA has signed collaboration agreements with the National Anti-Doping Organisations of all four finalist countries. The collaboration agreements enable UEFA and the NADOs to manage comprehensive Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) programmes on the players.

The ABP is used to monitor certain biological variables over time that would indicate the effect of doping substances on the body. The statistical tool uses data from each of the player's previous samples to give a personalised limit for any future samples.

Any sample that falls outside of the predicted individual limits may indicate doping, and requires further investigation.

Collaborating with NADOs on the ABP ensures that all samples collected on an athlete, regardless of the testing authority, go to the same passport. This means that the data is more comprehensive, the individual limits are more accurate, and there is less chance of a player cheating.

The collaboration agreements have also been used to share whereabouts information and test plans on the players with the NADOs. Sharing whereabouts information means that teams can be tested at their training grounds without any advance notice. Sharing test plans ensures that a balanced, intelligence-led programme is conducted.

UEFA has a comprehensive sample storage programme, where all samples collected from players taking part in our top competitions are stored for up to ten years to allow future re-analysis.

Nineteen samples collected in 2015 on players from England, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland have been re-analysed, using the most advanced scientific methods to check that all samples were clean before the start of the tournament.

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