As well as sample collection, UKAD is responsible for the results management of drug testing for athletes that fall under its jurisdiction as the UK National Anti-Doping Organisation.
Results management includes communicating the results of anti-doping tests to NGBs, and the adjudication of athletes suspected of committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). In total there are eight ADRVs.
UKAD can sanction athletes found to have committed an ADRV. Athletes can either accept these sanctions or challenge through an established legal process.
After a sample is provided by an athlete, the process is as follows:
Following sample collection, the Doping Control Officer (DCO) will send the samples to a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory, maintaining a secure chain of custody. All documentation relating to the test is submitted by the DCO to UKAD.
On arrival at the laboratory, the A-sample is analysed and the B-sample frozen. There are three possible outcomes following sample analysis; Negative, an Atypical Finding or an Adverse Analytical Finding.
If no prohibited substance, or evidence of the Use of a prohibited method is detected in the sample, the laboratory will issue a negative test result.
Some prohibited substances can also be produced naturally by the body. In certain circumstances the presence of such substances in the A-sample may result in the laboratory reporting an Atypical Finding.
Review of Atypical Finding
Upon receipt of an A-Sample Atypical Finding, UKAD will determine whether:
- a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) has been granted
- there has been a departure from the International Standard for Testing or International Standard for Laboratories that may have caused the Atypical Finding.
If the review does not reveal a TUE or departure that caused the Atypical Finding, further investigation will take place.
UKAD will not notify the athlete of an Atypical Finding until it has completed its investigation and decided whether it will bring the Atypical Finding forward as an adverse Analytical Finding.
On conclusion of the further investigation, UKAD will advise the athlete as to whether or not there is evidence of the administration of a prohibited substance or prohibited method. If there is no evidence, then no further action will be taken. If there is evidence of administration, UKAD will report the Atypical Finding as an Adverse Analytical Finding.
Adverse Analytical Finding
Upon receipt of an A-sample Adverse Analytical Finding, UKAD will determine whether:
- a TUE has been granted
- there has been a departure from the International Standard for Testing or International Standard for Laboratories that may have caused the Adverse Analytical Finding.
If the review does not reveal a TUE or departure that caused the Adverse Analytical Finding, then UKAD will report the outcome to the athlete.
Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs)
There are eight ADRVs that can result in a sanction. To view a list of athletes currently serving a ban, visit the rule violations section of the website.
The eight ADRVs 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
- refusing, or failing without compelling justification, to submit to sample collection after notification as authorised in applicable anti-doping rules or otherwise evading sample collection
- violation of applicable requirements regarding athlete availability for out-of-competition testing, including failure to provide whereabouts information and missed tests which are declared based on reasonable rules
- tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control
- possession of prohibited substances and prohibited methods
- 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, or assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up or any other type of complicity involving an ADRV or any attempted ADRV.
Notice of Charge
If it is decided that the athlete has a case to answer in relation to a possible ADRV then a “Notice of Charge” will be issued to the athlete detailing:
- the Adverse Analytical Finding (if applicable)
- the ADRV the athlete is charged with committing
- a summary of the facts and evidence relied upon in support of such charge
- notice of provisional suspension to be imposed on the athlete (if applicable)
- the consequences if it is established that the athlete has committed the ADRV charged
- the athlete’s right to promptly request the analysis of the B-sample (if applicable)
The athlete can choose to accept the charges and the consequences specified in the Notice of Charge. In these circumstances, an agreed Issued Decision will be published on the UKAD website. Alternatively, if the athlete wishes to dispute the charges, he or she can elect to have the B-sample analysed (if applicable) and request a hearing to determine the charges and the appropriate consequences.
Where the Notice of Charge is based on an Adverse Analytical Finding, the athlete has the right to request analysis of the B-Sample.
If the B-Sample does not confirm the result of the A-Sample then the entire test is considered as negative and the Notice of Charge withdrawn. No further action will be taken against the athlete.
If the B-Sample analysis confirmed the Adverse Analytical Finding in respect of the A-Sample, then the athlete can either accept the finding and consequences specified in the Notice of Charge or request that the matter proceed to a hearing.
If the A-sample Adverse Analytical Finding is for a prohibited substance, other than a specified substance, a mandatory provisional suspension will be imposed.
If the Adverse Analytical Finding is for a specified substance, the provisional suspension will be imposed at the discretion of UKAD.
A provisional suspension can only be imposed if the athlete is given either:
- an opportunity for a provisional hearing
- an opportunity for an expedited hearing.
An athlete charged with an ADRV has the right to a fair hearing.
The hearing process will determine whether an ADRV has been committed and, if so, the appropriate consequences.
Depending on the applicable anti-doping rules, it is likely that the hearing will be held before the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP).
The NADP is a national tribunal and appellate body for the UK, entirely independent of sporting governing bodies and UKAD.
Further information on the NADP is available at www.nadp.uk.com.
Elimination or reduction of the period of ineligibility
There are prescribed periods of ineligibility that apply if an ADRV is found to have been committed.
However, in a hearing, an athlete has the opportunity to eliminate or reduce the period of ineligibility in exceptional circumstances.
Regarding the presence of specified substances in an athlete’s sample, if the athlete can establish how the substance entered their body and prove it was not intended to enhance their performance, they may reduce the period of ineligibility from two years down to 0, depending on their degree of fault.
For other ADRVs, including the presence of a non-specified substance in an athlete’s sample, the period of ineligibility may be reduced by up to half, if the athlete can demonstrate that they were not significantly at fault or negligent in committing the ADRV.
An athlete may also reduce the period of ineligibility by providing substantial assistance to UKAD. If the athlete provides information or assistance which results in discovering or establishing an ADRV by another person, up to three quarters of the period of ineligibility imposed may be suspended.
Decisions made by the NADP or alternative hearing body may be appealed. Depending on the status of the athlete, the appeal may be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) or the NADP (or applicable National Appeals body).
Under the World-Anti Doping Code, there is a consistency of sanctions issued globally.
It is important to remember that, as an athlete, contravening these rules may result in a sanction ranging from a formal warning and reprimand (with no period of ineligibility) to a lifetime ban.
ADRVs do not only apply to individual athletes. Athlete Support Personnel, such as coaches and doctors, are also subject to the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code. In the event that a Athlete Support Personnel are found to be in breach of the anti-doping rules, the stages relating to the Notice of Charge, hearing and appeal will apply.
If an athlete is involved in a team sport and is found to have committed an ADRV, there could be implications for the entire team.
If two or more team members during an event are found to have committed an ADRV, UKAD can impose an appropriate sanction on the whole team.