What happens in a drugs test?

Can I only be tested in a competition?

  • Athletes who complete at international or national level may be tested anytime, anywhere. Specially trained and accredited doping control personnel carry out all tests.
  • The World Anti-Doping Code states that National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) such as UK Anti-Doping and Sport Ireland must plan and implement an effective number of IN-COMPETITION and OUT-OF-COMPETITION tests on the athletes on their Registered Testing Pool (RTP).
  • The NADOs develop a test distribution plan and allocate the number of samples for each sport or discipline required for effective deterrence and detection: the plan includes both in and out of competition testing and may include blood as well as urine collection.

What is the Registered Testing Pool (RTP)?

  • A pool of top level athletes established separately by each International Federation (IF) and NADOs who are subject to both in and out of competition testing. Each IF shall publish a list which identifies those athletes included in it’s RTP either by name or by clearly defined, specific criteria.

What’s the difference between In-Competition and Out-of-Competition testing?

  • In-Competition Testing: The criteria for the selection of athletes is mostly pre-determined, based on the regulations of the relevant International Federation or competition ruling body. Samples will usually be collected by the NADO of the country in which the competition takes place and will be analysed for ‘in-competition substances’ as outlined in the Prohibited List.
  • Out-of-Competition Testing: this includes any testing outside of a competition and ensures that athletes can be tested at any time and any place.

What is whereabouts – what is the athlete’s responsibility?

  • An athlete identified in the RTP by his/her NADO is required to provide accurate and current whereabouts information. This information is required on a quarterly basis and includes details such as the athlete’s home address, training venues and schedule, competition schedule as well as any other regular activities such as work or school.
  • Additionally athletes identified in their NADO’s RTP must provide a specific 60-minute period for each day when they will be accountable for a possible missed test should they not be present for testing during this time at the declared location.
  • A combination of three missed tests and/or failures to file whereabouts information within an 12-month period may be considered a doping violation and may result in a sanction.

What are the requirements for athletes in team sports?

  • Athletes who participate in a team sport and are in a RTP may also be subject to the same individual whereabouts requirements as athletes who participate in an individual sport.
  • Check out the UK Anti-Doping and Sport Ireland websites for further information on testing programmes and procedures.