The team doctors of the 16 participating national associations at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine have signed a charter in which they confirm their commitment to help UEFA achieve a doping-free tournament – as well as to assist UEFA with its player health initiatives such as the UEFA Injury Study and player screening.
The charter was signed at a ceremony in Warsaw during the UEFA EURO 2012 finalists workshop, at which organisational details for the tournament are being fine-tuned by UEFA and delegates from the 16 participating teams. Medical matters have been on the agenda for the workshop.
A similar charter was signed for the UEFA EURO 2008 final round in Austria and Switzerland. None of the 124 players who underwent doping controls at the 31 matches in Austria and Switzerland, nor any of the 160 tested out-of-competition in the build-up to the tournament, tested positive – and a similar successful outcome is anticipated at UEFA EURO 2012.
The charter emphasises that the mission of UEFA's Medical Committee at UEFA EURO 2012 is to monitor and prevent illness and injuries and, together with the UEFA anti-doping panel, to maintain a drug-free competition.
The doctors will have several duties and responsibilities during the championship that relate to this mission. With respect to the monitoring and prevention of injuries and illness, pre-competition medical examinations will be mandatory. By signing the charter, the team doctors guarantee that the medical checks on the EURO squads will be undertaken in accordance with competition regulations.
UEFA's Injury Study – an invaluable instrument which produces a wealth of medical information and statistics – will call on the team doctors' support in terms of providing such information. The doctors have pledged in the charter to supply such details to UEFA.
UEFA has continued a long-standing educational and promotional campaign against doping in football, and the doctors have committed in the charter to support UEFA's strategy by making sure their teams' players and staff are appropriately educated on anti-doping issues, and that doping in all forms will not be tolerated within the teams.
"The charter is a declaration by all the team doctors to uphold the anti-doping ethos of UEFA and football in general. We are putting our name, as medical advisers, to that charter to support UEFA’s position,” said Alan Byrne, team doctor of the Republic of Ireland. “The charter is a symbol of our commitment. If you look at doping in general, you all want to play on a level playing field – no one likes cheating, and doping is cheating.”
The doctors have also agreed to assist and cooperate with UEFA on the in-competition and out-of-competition programmes on selected players at training camps in the period leading up to the tournament. They are also required under the charter to fully support the urine and blood-testing programme to be conducted in and out-of-competition.