Members' expert knowledge and experience help the UEFA anti-doping panel give crucial support to the European body's comprehensive anti-doping programme.
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The UEFA anti-doping advisory panel met on 23 September to discuss numerous matters relating to the UEFA anti-doping programme, and welcomed several new members with an extensive range of expertise from within the international anti-doping network.
These included a range of physicians, lawyers and scientists, which means that the panel features experts from a wide range of stakeholders, such as national anti-doping agencies, national associations, clubs, leagues and players.
The inclusion of such a range of experts serves to enhance the effectiveness of the panel, and to further support UEFA's anti-doping unit in its development of a progressive and cutting-edge anti-doping programme. Discussions centred on UEFA's introduction of steroid profiling, long-term sample storage, agreements, co-ordination with national anti-doping agencies and whereabouts requirements for players. UEFA's plans for the tournament and pre-tournament UEFA EURO 2016 anti-doping programmes were supported by the panel, and will commence on 1 January 2016.
The chairman of the panel, Dr Mogens Kreutzfeldt, said: "The new panel members bring with them an incredible breadth of expertise to add to a group already boasting an extensive legal, practical and scientific knowledge of anti-doping, and we're delighted to have them working with us on the development of our programme. Through the work that the panel and the UEFA Medical Committee performs in its advisory capacity, UEFA can be confident that its activities in the field are underpinned by real and relevant advice and knowledge from all corners of the anti-doping field.
"This season will see the most comprehensive anti-doping programme ever undertaken by UEFA, culminating in the largest ever EURO testing programme in the summer of 2016. We are never complacent – we are always trying to advance, and this panel helps go a long way to achieving that goal."
UEFA will conduct over 2,200 anti-doping tests during the coming season, including blood and urine testing in- and out-of-competition for the standard WADA testing menu, and additional testing where effective, such as screening for Erythropoietin Stimulating Agents, Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) and growth hormone. Players will be subject to steroid biological profiling, and will face the added deterrent of the long-term retention of samples for re-testing in the future as necessary.
Meanwhile, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published its anti-doping testing figures for 2014. The figures demonstrate the leading role that UEFA is playing in the fight against doping.
The main points of the 2014 testing statistics are as follows:
• Worldwide, 283,304 tests were carried out in 2014.
• There were more tests – 31,242 – in football than in any other sport. As a comparison, there were 25,830 tests in athletics, 22,471 in cycling, 12,120 in swimming, 6,961 in rugby and 3,841 in tennis.
• UEFA carried out 2,318 tests. This is more than any other regional sports organisation, and only UCI (9,483), IAAF (3,841), and ITF (2,955) of all the international sports federations did more.
• Rates of Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) in football (0.5%) are among the lowest of any sport. The rate in tennis was 0.4%, in swimming 0.5%, in rugby 0.8%, in athletics 1.0%, and in cycling 1.0%. However, the number of confirmed anti-doping rule violations is lower than the number of AAFs, because all AAFs are subject to a results management process which includes, for example, checking whether the player who provided the sample has a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for the prohibited substance detected.
• UEFA had two AAFs out of the 2,318 tests that it conducted (0.1%). After appropriate investigation, neither AAF was considered as an anti-doping rule violation.
• UEFA conducted 7.4% of all the tests in football worldwide.
Overall, UEFA's 2,318 tests involved 2,024 urine tests (1,515 in-competition and 509 out-of-competition) and 294 blood tests (60 in-competition and 234 out-of-competition). Additional analysis was performed on many of those samples: 609 tests for Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents such as EPO, 132 GC/C/IRMS (which looks for steroid doping), as well as 24 tests for human growth hormone.
The full WADA testing figures are available on the WADA website.