The 2010/11 season sees UEFA continuing its drive to keep European football free of drug-taking with doping controls taking place in all its competitions – including out-of-competition controls at the 32 clubs participating in the UEFA Champions League.
As an indicator of the European football body's ongoing vigilance in this area of the game, in the 2009/10 campaign some 1,710 doping controls were conducted in all UEFA competitions, including youth and women's. Of that number, more than 1,300 controls were carried out in Europe's two major club competitions.
There were four positive cases recorded. One player tested positive for cocaine following a test in the UEFA Europa League, for which he received a 12-month suspension. Two players tested positive for the stimulant cathine in the UEFA Champions League, for which they both got one-match bans. Another player tested positive for the diuretic furosemide following an out-of-competition test, for which he was suspended for nine months.
Meanwhile, EPO – the substance deployed to increase endurance and physical strength – was tested for in 1,116 samples. And a total of 476 out-of-competition controls were performed, representing over a quarter of the doping controls during the whole season.
UEFA has intensified coordination with world football's governing body FIFA and the national anti-doping organisations in order to conduct intelligent and effective testing.
• UEFA Champions League
A total of 780 UEFA Champions League players were tested last season, with 684 tested for EPO. UEFA carried out in-competition controls at 76 matches, where 304 players – two from each team – were tested.
As in all seasons since 2004/05, out-of-competition controls were performed on players from all 32 teams in the UEFA Champions League group stage. The UEFA doping control officers (DCOs) made 48 visits to clubs, testing a total of 476 players, with every sample analysed for EPO.
• UEFA Europa League
In the UEFA Europa League, UEFA conducted in-competition controls at 146 matches, testing a total of 586 players, with 396 samples analysed for EPO.
• Youth education
UEFA carried out educational sessions with each of the 28 sides that qualified for the four final tournaments at youth level (Under-19, Women's Under-19, Under-17 and Women's Under-17). The sessions lasted about 45 minutes and featured a video of a doping control filmed during UEFA EURO 2008, quizzes and plenty of interaction. An interpreter was present to translate simultaneously into each team's mother tongue, as UEFA emphasised anti-doping messages such as the health risks of doping, possible traps and the risks to a player's career.
• New whereabouts requirements
UEFA's out-of-competition testing (OOCT) programme began five years ago and involves the 32 clubs taking part in the UEFA Champions League group stage. The cooperation of clubs has generally been good both in providing whereabouts information and during doping controls.
However, in response to some cases of clubs and players repeatedly failing to comply with whereabouts requirements, changes have been made that mean such repeated failures will be sanctioned more strongly than in the past. In particular, the UEFA Anti-Doping Regulations have been amended for the 2010/11 season to enable UEFA's anti-doping panel to demand partial individual whereabouts information if necessary.
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