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European football unites in support of clean sport

WADA Play True Day underscores the importance of awareness and education.

An anti-doping education session for youth futsal players
An anti-doping education session for youth futsal players UEFA

Football underlined its firm commitment to promoting and protecting clean sport this week as global and European organisations gathered at an anti-doping education workshop in Nyon, Switzerland.

More than 100 representatives from our member associations, national anti-doping organisations (NADOs), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Council of Europe, iNADO and the International Testing Agency took part in the two-day event which highlighted the importance of awareness, prevention and support.

“Our approach is built around the principle that a player’s first experience with anti-doping should be through education rather than testing,” said Marc Vouillamoz, UEFA’s head of anti-doping.

The workshop built on the progress achieved by member associations in delivering education sessions to players and player support personnel by providing detailed insights on our education model, identifying key areas of development, and promoting enhanced collaboration between associations and NADOs.

The workshop participants at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland
The workshop participants at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, SwitzerlandKristian Skeie - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

WADA Play True Day

The workshop also celebrated WADA’s Play True Day 2024, which marks its 10th anniversary today. Play True Day unites athletes, governing bodies, event organisers, anti-doping agencies and governments under a common banner, #OnePlayTrueTeam.

The WADA campaign echoes our goal of ensuring that every footballer in Europe is educated on the importance of clean sport. During the workshop, a panel discussion of medical professionals highlighted the need to provide specific education to coaches and team doctors, given their crucial roles in creating supportive environments and helping players fulfil their own anti-doping responsibilities.

National association support

Support for anti-doping education is delivered under our HatTrick programme, which reinvests EURO revenue in football development projects.

A central requirement for member associations is the provision of education sessions for all national team youth players and support staff before their first UEFA qualifying match, delivered by qualified educators in coordination with the national anti-doping organisation.

From the start of the 2024/25 season, senior national team players and support staff will also be required to complete anti-doping education at least once every two years.

"Anti-doping is about balance, and support and prevention are key," said Amanda Hudson, WADA director of education. "The pre-event education strategy that UEFA applies to youth players competing internationally is something we want to model globally."

As part of an integrated integrity strategy, our anti-doping education programme is closely coordinated with our anti-match-fixing awareness activities, ensuring that more and more members of the European football community can contribute to keeping our sport clean, fair and competitive.

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