The F.A. Doping Control and Health Education Programme There are many different sections to the F.A’s Doping control they are as follows:- All tests are carried out randomly, however, there is provision in the guidelines for The FA to ‘target’ a player if this is requested by his club or P.F.A. and where there is significant evidence to do so. The Football Association works to a comprehensive set Procedural Guidelines. There is a very tight set of Guidelines, Rules and Regulations covering this important area. As well as this, guidelines regarding disciplinary sanctions for offending players have been devised.
The FA Doping Control Programme is carried out in conjunction with the UK Sports Council Doping Control Unit. It is important to have an independent outside body rather than totally control sample collection and selection of games as the governing body this avoids any suggestion of foul play. All matches, training sessions and players are randomly selected for testing and at each visit two Independent Sampling Officers (ISO’s) from The Sports Council are accompanied by an FA Supervising Officer who is either a Doctor or Physiotherapist approved by The FA.
The role of the FA representative is to ensure full co-operation from the player and club involved, to explain the rules and procedures to players and officials where necessary and to check all the paperwork completed out by the Sampling Officers is in order. A further role is to excuse a player from a testing ‘event’ on medical grounds, where a significant injury requires a player to attend hospital immediately.
For ‘In Competition’ testing at a game, the drug testing team arrives unannounced at the chosen club. Two players are selected from each site at random during the half time interval. The club secretary will be informed at half-time and he/she will be present to witness the random selection of players. After the game, the players are directed to a sample collection area (room with toilet facilities). The sample collection procedure is explained to the players and carried out in accordance with the drug testing guidelines.
The Sampling Officer will collect the urine sample and organise the dispatch of these samples to the IOC laboratory for analysis. The results of the analysis of samples are forwarded to the Administrator of the FA Doping Control Programme privately and confidentially. In the case of a positive sample, a separate procedure is put into action. The FA Chief Executive, The Professional Footballers Association (Union) and the FA Compliance Officer are informed of the find.
If a player’s positive sample is for performance enhancing drugs, it is highly likely that he will be charged with misconduct for bringing the game into disrepute and would appear before an FA Disciplinary Commission. If the player’s positive find is for social or recreational drugs, The FA guidelines allow for an interview with the player. Depending on the outcome of the interview may be charged with misconduct and ordered to appear before an FA Disciplinary Commission.
Not only does this show that the F.A are doing there best to “clean the sport up” but it also shows it is working. The number of significant positive finds has more than halved since 1994/1995 this is with the number of test conducted five times more. However if there is to be one negative, there was still 6 finds out of 1054. This shows that drugs still play a part on this sport and also 1054 is no where near a representative amount of sportsmen and women that compete in football in England.