What is UKAD?

24th January 2018

What is UKAD?

In the current anti-doping series, we’ve debunked some common myths and looked at how doping rules apply to all athletes, no matter what level they compete at.

Some of the doping facts in these features will have come as quite a shock. Many people will not have ever given doping a second thought, beyond mainstream news stories about high profile athletes being convicted as drug cheats. However, anti-doping is something everyone involved in sport needs to be aware of, as using Performing-Enhancing drugs (PEDs) jeopardises the health and reputation of athletes and integrity of competition.

That’s why Volleyball England works with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) to help promote clean volleyball. In this Q&A, we delve deeper into what UKAD is and the role it plays in protecting sports…

What is UKAD?

UKAD is the national anti-doping agency that is dedicated to protecting a culture of clean sport.

That is a huge task but can be broadly split into two main objectives: promoting clean sport through education and testing athletes to prosecute those who break doping rules.

UKAD works with many organisations, including the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), to achieve this. It is also responsible for ensuring sports bodies across the UK comply with the World Anti-Doping Code by implementing the UK’s National Anti-Doping Policy.

The organisation is accountable to the Government, specifically the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

How do UKAD check if athletes are cheating?  

UKAD runs a doping control scheme with a team of authorised Doping Control Personnel responsible for testing athletes in the UK.

The team includes Blood Collection Officers (BCOs), Doping Control Officers (DCOs) and chaperones. The staff are all trained to comply with international standards.

Any athlete who is in the country, no matter what nationality or what level of sport they compete at, can be tested by UKAD. The selection of athletes for testing is determined by UKAD, sometimes in collaboration with relevant governing bodies or federations. The criteria for testing includes: target testing, placing in an event, an event discipline, category or event, or a set number of players from each team, which is usually a random sample. 

What is an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV)?

As the National Anti-Doping Organisation, UKAD is responsible for charging athletes or athlete support personnel who have committed an ADRV.

In the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code there are 10 Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRV). They consist of the following:

  • The presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample
  • Use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method
  • Evading, refusing, or failing to submit to sample collection
  • Whereabouts failures: any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures within a 12-month period by an athlete in a registered testing pool
  • Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control
  • Possession of a prohibited substance or prohibited method
  • Trafficking or attempted trafficking in any prohibited substance or prohibited method
  • Administration or attempted administration to any athlete in-competition of any prohibited method or prohibited substance, or administration or attempted administration to any athlete out-of-competition of any prohibited method or any prohibited substance that is prohibited out-of-competition
  • Complicity: assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, conspiring, covering up or any other type of intentional complicity involving an ADRV or any attempted ADRV
  • Prohibited Association: associating with a person such as a coach, doctor or physio who has been found guilty of a criminal or disciplinary offence equivalent to a doping violation

Can UKAD sanction athletes for failing a drug tests?

Yes. As well as testing, UKAD is responsible for managing the results of drug tests. It communicates the results of tests to National Governing Bodies and adjudicates on athletes who are believed to have committed an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV).

The organisation has the authority to sanction athletes who fail a test. The starting point for a first offence is a four-year ban from all sports. Coaches and athlete support personnel can also break doping rules for assisting or encouraging athletes to commit doping violations, and can receive an ADRV.

How does UKAD promote clean sport?

Education is one of UKAD’s key deliverables. It works with sporting bodies, athletes, coaches, parents, clubs, and organisations to raise awareness of anti-doping.

It runs campaigns to promote clean sport, including the ‘100% me’ initiative which focuses on competitors being ‘true athletes’, who can say their performance is purely down to hard work, determination and talent.

UKAD also runs courses to educate those involved with sport. There is a free online course to become an accredited UKAD anti-doping advisor, which is someone who helps inform athletes and their support personnel about the value of clean sport and anti-doping information. It also offers the Coach Clean course which is for experienced coaches to learn more about anti-doping and their responsibilities.

How can UKAD help me?

It doesn’t matter what level of sport you’re involved in, UKAD can help with anything related to anti-doping.

From explaining what constitutes a doping violation and what’s on the WADA Prohibited List, to medical exemptions for banned substances and reporting someone you suspect is doping, the UKAD website is full of resources and information giving guidance on doping issues.

While many people involved with sport will never have direct contact with UKAD, it is important that everyone understands their responsibilities when it comes to anti-doping.

What is UKAD?