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No anti-doping rule violations at UEFA EURO 2020

All 1,616 urine and blood samples collected from players by UEFA, FIFA and participating teams’ national anti-doping organisations between 1 January 2021 and the end of the tournament were negative.

Anti-doping chaperones at UEFA EURO 2020
Anti-doping chaperones at UEFA EURO 2020 UEFA

UEFA's comprehensive anti-doping programme put in place for UEFA EURO 2020 – which, due to the rescheduling of the final tournament for summer 2021, began in January 2021 and lasted until the end of the final tournament earlier this month – has been a resounding success.

UEFA worked closely with the world football body FIFA and National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) from several of the 24 countries that took part in the tournament to coordinate testing activities and share information.

Many NADOs also provided anti-doping volunteers who assisted UEFA in the notification and chaperoning of players to the doping control station after matches.

Six-month programme

Preparations and guidance ahead of a EURO doping control
Preparations and guidance ahead of a EURO doping controlUEFA via Getty Images

Analysis of the testing data stored in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) database for the 624 players who participated at EURO 2020 showed that UEFA, FIFA and NADOs collected a combined total of 1,616 urine and blood samples between 1 January 2021 and the end of the final tournament.

This represents an average of 2.59 samples collected per player within a period of just over six months. UEFA collected 1,025 of these samples, while 591 were collected by FIFA and European NADOs.

All the samples collected during the pre-tournament testing programme and final tournament were negative.

Out-of-competition testing

Some 616 of the samples were collected out-of-competition from players who gathered with their national teams during the international week of FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying matches in March, in the immediate pre-tournament period in May and June, and at training base camps and team hotels between matches during the tournament.

Samples were collected over a six-month period
Samples were collected over a six-month periodStephen Caillet / Panoramic

A further 584 of these samples were collected from EURO 2020 players by UEFA, FIFA, and NADOs in-competition in a targeted testing programme involving UEFA, FIFA and national league matches.

The final 416 samples were collected by UEFA during tests performed at final tournament matches, representing an average of 8.16 samples per match.

Laboratory analysis

Given the pan-European format for EURO 2020, a number of different WADA-accredited laboratories were used to analyse samples, with all participating laboratories collaborating with each other to agree a complex analytical menu designed to test for Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, Human Growth Hormones and Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) - in addition to the standard WADA analytical menu.

Samples were analysed at WADA-accredited laboratories
Samples were analysed at WADA-accredited laboratoriesUEFA

In-competition samples were analysed within 24 hours of receipt by the laboratories, to ensure that the initial results were known before the teams' next games.

The samples were also added to the player’s biological passports, which allows monitoring of selected biological variables over time.

Ten-year storage

UEFA worked closely with their expert Athlete Passport Management Unit at the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses (LAD) in Lausanne, Switzerland to ensure that prompt monitoring of the passports could guide target testing of players both before and during the tournament.

Under UEFA's long-term sample storage programme, all samples from EURO 2020 will be stored for a period of 10 years.

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 in the future.