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Blood testing in UEFA competitions

UEFA will begin carrying out blood testing across all its competitions in 2013/14. There were no positive doping tests in last season's UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

UEFA carries out doping tests across its competitions
UEFA carries out doping tests across its competitions ©Sportsfile

As announced in May, following a decision by the UEFA Executive Committee, UEFA will start carrying out blood testing across all its competitions from the start of the 2013/14 season.

Until now, UEFA has only conducted blood tests at the UEFA EURO 2008 and UEFA EURO 2012 final tournaments. Blood testing will take place both in and out-of-competition, and at a doping control players may be asked to give only urine samples, only blood samples, or both. UEFA's member associations and clubs participating in UEFA competitions have been informed of this via circular letter 2013/027, and have been instructed to inform players and staff.

Anti-Doping Regulations
The 2013 edition of the UEFA Anti-Doping Regulations entered into force on 1 July 2013. The regulations have been updated for 2013/14. The main change is the addition of a clause which details the procedure for when individual players are tested out-of-competition away from team activities. This will take place when players and/or their teams have committed several whereabouts violations, and have reached a stage where the testing of players individually is justified.

The sample collection procedure is the same as that in the FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations. other changes are minor, with some rewording of certain clauses to improve clarity, and some restructuring in order to harmonise UEFA regulations more closely with those of FIFA. There are no material changes to offences, or to the responsibilities of national associations and clubs.

Testing in 2012/13
The 2012/13 season saw 1,374 doping controls carried out in Europe's major club competitions, the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. There were no positive cases in either. In other competitions, UEFA has thus far carried out 407 doping controls – the season has not yet finished. A full programme of doping controls will be carried out during UEFA Women's EURO 2013 in Sweden, as well as at the two youth final tournaments – U19 and women's U19 – still to take place this summer.

UEFA Champions League testing
UEFA conducts both in and out-of-competition doping controls in the UEFA Champions League. A total of 813 samples were collected from players during 2012/13, with over 67% of the samples analysed for EPO – the substance deployed to increase endurance and physical strength. Some players were tested as often as six times during the course of the season.

In-competition tests
UEFA's doping control programme is based on a thorough risk assessment and a detailed test distribution plan. Controls were conducted at all UEFA Champions League play-off matches, and every team in the group stage was tested at least once. Thirty players from the two finalists were tested at least three times during the season.

Out-of-competition tests
About 60% of the doping controls in the UEFA Champions League were conducted out-of-competition at clubs' training grounds. Over 80% of the samples collected out-of-competition were analysed for EPO. The two finalists were both tested five times out-of-competition over the course of the season.

UEFA Europa League testing
A total of 560 samples were collected from players in the UEFA Europa League in 2012/13. As in the UEFA Champions League, doping controls in the UEFA Europa League are planned according to a careful risk assessment. Every team in the play-offs was tested, and from then on there were doping controls at over 50% of matches, with every game from the round of 16 onwards tested.

Steroid profile study
In collaboration with the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne, UEFA is launching a study to analyse the steroid profiles of almost 900 players who have been tested at least three times in UEFA competitions since 2008. The aim of this study will be to identify the potential prevalence of steroid use across European football by using data from previous doping controls. The study will be anonymous and its findings will not result in any player incurring an anti-doping rule violation.