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Anti-doping

We play a leading role in the global fight against doping in sports.

Doping control during the UEFA Under-19 Futsal EURO 2022 in September 2022
Doping control during the UEFA Under-19 Futsal EURO 2022 in September 2022 ©UEFA

Doping is a major threat to the integrity of sport. We ensure that UEFA’s testing and education programmes remain at the cutting edge of science so we can apply best practice in all areas of detection and prevention.

How UEFA doping control works

All players participating in our competitions may be required to undergo doping control procedures at any time. Doping controls may include samples of blood and urine, as well as screening for substances such as EPO and human growth hormone.

No advance information is given as to when controls will take place – they can either be in-competition (after a match) or out-of-competition (at a team training session or at the player's home).

Constant monitoring

The athlete biological passport, which monitors players' blood and urine biomarkers over an extended period, is central to our testing strategy. Variations in either the blood or steroid profile may indicate doping, and provide the basis for target testing.

Given that prosecutions for anti-doping rule violations can start up to a decade after the offence was committed, we store all samples collected in our men's club competitions, UEFA EURO and UEFA Women's EURO for ten years. They can then be reanalysed if we receive specific intelligence or when new analytics techniques become available.

Comprehensive testing programme

The 2022/23 season saw 3,481 samples collected across our club and national team competitions, of which 2,555 were in-competition tests and 926 out-of-competition. Of this total, our four men’s and women’s club competitions accounted for 2,142 tests, with the highest number carried out in the UEFA Champions League.

At the UEFA EURO 2024 tournament in Germany, we will conduct tests at all 51 matches. In addition, as part of the pre-tournament testing programme run in conjunction with national anti-doping organisations (NADOs) and FIFA, players from the 24 competing teams are subject to intelligent target testing. This approach builds on the success of our anti-doping programme at UEFA EURO 2020, when all 1,616 samples tested negative.

To facilitate the testing programme, we have cooperation agreements with 33 European NADOs that help coordinate anti-doping programmes and testing activities, as well as facilitate information-sharing. This ensures we have a full picture of the tests conducted on players across Europe at national level.

UEFA doping control officers

All controls are carried out by UEFA doping control officers (DCOs), a group of 56 medical doctors. All DCOs undergo regular auditing to ensure procedural consistency and, where needed, improve the quality of doping controls. New doping control officers follow our comprehensive training programme, Of the ten new DCOs selected during the last two years, seven are female.

Education

Education is a crucial pillar in the fight against doping, and represents the first line of defence in protecting the rights of football players and the integrity of our sport. The goal of ensuring that every footballer in Europe is aware of the importance of clean sport underpins our anti-doping strategy.

Since the strategy’s launch in 2020, each of our 55 member associations can request up to €10,000 per year through the HatTrick programme to run anti-doping education activities. During the 2022/23 season alone, over 27,000 players and more than 4,000 player support staff, such as coaches and team doctors, benefitted from face-to-face instruction, online sessions or e-learning modules delivered by associations with UEFA’s help.

Our anti-doping education platform, a digital resource for member associations, offers an array of materials, including presentations on anti-doping, visual insights into players undergoing doping controls, and instructional videos on testing procedures.

Using UEFA competitions to educate young players

Emphasis is placed on promoting awareness among young players, with youth national teams benefitting from face-to-face educational sessions before competing in UEFA competitions. At the 2022/23 men’s and women’s European Under-17 and Under-19 championship final tournaments and the Under-19 Futsal EURO, 48 teams and 1,200 players and staff, including team doctors and coaches, attended sporting integrity sessions.

During the 2023/24 season, we are shifting our approach to focus on empowering national associations. This will see local experts deliver sessions tailored to the needs of each team ahead of their first UEFA qualifying match.

Cooperation with doctors

We also recognise the key role that football doctors play in helping players to remain clean. In 2023, we organised the first club team doctor webinar to:

  • bolster anti-doping awareness
  • encourage regular monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances 
  • highlight the risks of supplement and meat contamination
  • ensure clarity on the Therapeutic Use Exemption process, which ensures that players can be treated for medical conditions without risk of punishment even if the treatment involves using a prohibited substance or method.

Resources
UEFA Anti-Doping Regulations
Anti-doping and medical pre-season information letter (2024/25)
Anti-doping guide for players
Step-by-step guide to doping controls
UEFA anti-doping poster (2022/23)
Prohibited list and TUEs FAQs
UEFA TUE application form
WADA prohibited list (2024)
WADA prohibited list (2024): summary of modifications
WADA prohibited list 2024: UEFA information letter
WADA guidelines on Glucocorticoids