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UEFA is recognised as one of the world's leading team-sport organisations in the fight against doping, and the organisation continually strives to ensure that its education and testing programmes remain at the cutting edge of science and recognised good practice in all areas of prevention and detection.
Any player participating in a UEFA competition may be required to undergo a doping control 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 even at players’ homes).
A key part of UEFA’s testing strategy is the athlete biological passport. UEFA runs both blood and steroidal passport programmes. These monitor players’ biomarkers, in blood and urine, over time; variations in either the blood or steroid profile may be indications of doping, as well as providing intelligence for target testing.
In addition, UEFA stores all samples collected in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA European Championship for up to ten years in order to allow re-analysis at any time, in particular when required due to specific intelligence, or when new analytical techniques become available. This long-term sample storage allows anti-doping rule violations to be prosecuted up to ten years after they have been committed, and as such, provides a significant deterrent effect.
UEFA has signed cooperation agreements with almost thirty European National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs). Under the agreements, UEFA and the NADOs coordinate their anti-doping programmes and testing activities, exchanging information and intelligence. The agreements also ensure that UEFA has a full picture of the doping tests conducted on players across Europe at national level.
To illustrate the breadth of UEFA's testing work, in the 2015/16 season, 2,242 samples were collected within the framework of the EURO 2016 testing programme, and a total of 2,542 samples were collected by UEFA in its other club and national team competitions.
UEFA’s doping controls are all conducted by UEFA’s own doping control officers (DCOs), a group of 55 medical doctors from 27 different countries. New DCOs follow UEFA’s in-depth training programme, while all DCOs undergo regular auditing to ensure improvements where necessary in the quality of doping controls, and a uniformly high standard of procedure.
An accompanying education programme is aimed specifically at young players. Instructive sessions on anti-doping are conducted during the final tournaments of all UEFA youth competitions, along with outreach programmes that aim to reinforce the important message.
In addition, educational materials are distributed to all players in UEFA competitions to help raise their awareness of anti-doping matters, inform them about UEFA's anti-doping regulations and procedures, and prevent them from committing procedural errors.