This guide has been written to give clear
information to all athletes who are likely to be affected by the anti-doping
rules, their regulation and enforcement. There should not be any mystique about
the procedures followed or what they are designed to achieve. The intention is
that athletes should be fully informed of their rights and obligations and that
they should understand what happens at each stage.
Testing in competition
In competition (at which there
is a doping control presence) any athlete in any event may be randomly
selected for testing. The supervising officer uses numbered counters to draw a
number of events and then a finishing position within each event.
Athletes selected for testing
will be approached by an Independent Sampling Officer (ISO) who will escort
them to the doping control area. If the athlete needs to warm down properly,
or is competing in another event on the same day, a chaperone will accompany
them until they are ready to give a sample
Admittance to the doping
control area itself is strictly controlled; only the ISO’s, athletes being
tested and people accompanying them may enter. Water (in sealed bottles) will
always be available should the athlete want it. Only the athlete and the ISO
will be present for collection of the sample, but the athlete may ask that the
Team Doctor or other, suitable individual be present while it is divided.
The subsequent analysis of the
sample will test for all banned substances including stimulants.
If providing a sample means
that the athlete misses the team bus, a team official will make sure that
alternative arrangements are made. If there is a danger of the athlete missing
a flight, UK Athletics has the discretion to say that a sample need not be
taken (although that would only be in very exceptional circumstances )
A UK Athletics anti-doping
officer will be available for athletes to speak to either before or after a
sample is given, and any concerns should be brought to their attention.
If an athlete is tested while
competing abroad not as part of a GB team, they should advise UK Athletics
when they return to this country. The usual point of contact is the Doping
Coordinator, Joslyn Hoyte-Smith.
Out of competition (no notice) testing
When athletes are selected to
compete as part of a GB team they may be asked to complete a registration
form, which will mean that they will be available for testing at any time.
The register includes details
of their name, address, date of birth, training venue and contact telephone
numbers. This information must be kept up to date at all times because it is
used by the ISO’s when they need to collect a sample. If the athlete is not
at the address on the register it is assumed that they are avoiding testing,
and non-collection is treated in the same way as a positive test result,
meaning that the athlete would be subject to disciplinary action. If an
athlete is away from their normal address for more than five days they must
inform UKA of their whereabouts before they move / travel.
On a quarterly basis about 120
athletes are randomly selected for testing. The analysis carried out tests for
banned substances excluding stimulants.
ISO’s are not allowed to turn
up at a place of work and demand a sample. They must also act in a reasonable
and professional manner. This means, for instance, that they will not call
(without prior agreement with the athlete) at night, and that they will
identify themselves to the athlete’s partner or family.
If an athlete is unhappy with
the way that he / she is treated by the sampling officer, or with the sampling
procedure itself, they must record their grievances on the form which they are
asked to sign when collection is complete. They should inform the anti-doping
coordinator of their concerns as soon as possible.
In both of the above cases the
athlete is required to produce a sample of at least 70ml of urine. For
guidance, this is approximately a quarter of a can of carbonated drink. The
sample is then divided between two identical, tamper-proof bottles that are
then sealed by the athlete in the presence of the ISO. Both bottles will be
treated in exactly the same way.
Athletes can expect to hear the
results of any test within 3 weeks. The target that UK Sport has set is
actually 10 days, but this is proving difficult to achieve.
ISO’s are employed by UK
Sport specifically to collect samples. They receive regular training from UK
Sport and are responsible for the custody of the samples until they are
collected by a courier and delivered to the laboratory.
Samples received at the
laboratory are completely anonymous, only being identified by a sample number.
Analysis has to be carried out at an IOC accredited laboratory. In this
country the only one is Kings College London. Gas chromatography and mass
spectrometry are used to identify the chemicals present in the urine sample.
The laboratory reports all test
results to UK Sport Ethics and Anti-doping Directorate, who then inform UK
If the tests carried out do not show up the
presence of any substances on the banned list, a negative test result is
logged and a standard letter is sent to the athlete by UK Athletics.
If the analysis of the sample
shows the presence of a banned substance, or a substance that the body
produces from a banned substance, in concentrations that are outside the
accepted range for natural occurrence, the laboratory will report a positive
finding. The laboratory reports such findings to UK Sport who then advise UK
Athletics who identify and contact the athlete concerned.
A positive finding may indicate
that a medical condition exists that requires monitoring or treatment. If this
is the case, the team doctor may either request further samples to be taken,
or may advise the athlete to contact his / her own GP.
An athlete who has to use an
asthma inhaler or other prescribed medication to treat an existing medical
condition will show up as positive for the steroids included in the drugs. If
the UK Athletics Director of Medical Services (Dr Malcolm Brown) has been told
that the athlete needs to take this medication, the positive finding will be
recorded but no further action will be taken. The use of the inhaler must,
though, be notified in writing when the athlete first appears on the register.
Where there is a positive
finding in a sample, the athlete will be asked for an explanation.
The athlete can, when a
positive result is reported, admit to having taken a banned substance. In
which case the punishment will be as stated in the rulebook (e.g. a warning
for the first recorded use of stimulants in competition and disqualification
from that event; two-year ban for a subsequent offence).
The analysis provided by the
laboratory, together with paperwork supplied by the UK Sport, and the views of
the team doctor, plus any explanation from the athlete is reviewed by a panel
appointed by UK Athletics. If there is deemed to be a case for athlete to
answer, they will have to appear before a disciplinary hearing. This does not
mean that the athlete is guilty of an offence – it means that the finding of
the banned substance needs to be investigated.
The athlete is suspended from
competition from the time that it is decided that he / she should appear
before a disciplinary hearing. If the athlete is on the World Class Plan, his
/ her funding from the Lottery Unit will also be suspended.
The disciplinary hearing will
take place as quickly as possible. Before it takes place, the athlete may ask
that his / her B sample be analysed by the laboratory to confirm or contradict
the results of the original tests. The athlete can be present in the
laboratory when the B test is carried out, and may be accompanied by his / her
The disciplinary panel will be
made up of one person who understands the law and how hearings should be
conducted (usually a solicitor or barrister), one person with expert medical
or scientific knowledge (usually a doctor, bio-chemist or endocrinologist) and
one person with a background in sport (an ex-athlete for instance). None of
these three will have any direct association with UK Athletics, other than
being part of the disciplinary panel.
During the hearing the panel
will take account of all of the evidence produced before deciding whether or
not an offence has definitely been committed. If it is decided that an offence
has not been committed, the athlete will be allowed to start competing again
and any lottery funding that had been suspended will be paid to him / her.
If it is decided that an
offence (other than a first offence involving the use of stimulants) has been
committed, the athlete will be banned from competing in all IAAF and UK
Athletics competitions for 2 years (for the first offence) or for life (second
Whether found guilty or not,
the decision may go to appeal – either by the athlete or by UK Athletics.
If UK Athletics clears the
athlete of the offence, the IAAF may refer the case to its arbitration panel.
Lottery funding will not be affected during this period.
During the period of a ban the
athlete must be available for random testing unless they no longer wish to
compete. Any infringements of the rules during this period would be treated
very seriously and could lead to a lifetime ban.
After a ban has been served
After serving a ban or
receiving a warning for the use of stimulants, the athlete will still not be
allowed to compete in the Olympics, as the BOA operate under different rules
to UK Athletics and the IAAF. The athlete is, however, able to apply to the
Olympic movement to be considered to take part in the Olympic Games. Under
normal circumstances, only bans for stimulant offences will be lifted.
Retirement from competition
When an athlete retires from
representing Great Britain in international competition, they will be kept on
the out-of-competition register for a further one year, in case they have a
change of heart and wish to make a comeback. Alternatively, the athlete may
specifically and formally ask that their name be removed from the register. If
they then wish to return to GB representative competition they will have to be
available for testing for a year before they can be selected.
This guide attempts to explain the processes, not
to replace the rulebook, which every athlete should read and understand. If you
have any questions about either the rules or this guide further information can
be obtained from Joslyn Hoyte-Smith at UK Athletics in Birmingham.