Top young players across Europe are now receiving tailored anti-match-fixing and anti-doping education before participating in UEFA’s international youth competitions.
As of this season, all 55 of UEFA’s member national associations are delivering tailored sessions for Under-17 and Under-19 men’s and women’s players (as well as anti-doping education for men’s Under-19 futsal players) ahead of their involvement in qualifying matches.
The new approach ensures all teams receive specific information and education in their own language that is relevant to their local context, whereas previously, multiple teams competing in UEFA mini-tournaments would attend sessions conducted by the host national association during the initial rounds of each tournament.
Angelo Rigopoulos, UEFA managing director, Integrity & Regulatory, said, “In the spirit of empowerment, UEFA places the trust and responsibility to deliver these education sessions in the hands of its national associations. This fresh approach guarantees that every team receives tailored information and education in their native language, deeply rooted in their local context.”
Education remains crucial to UEFA’s integrity efforts
UEFA’s anti-doping and anti-match-fixing units kicked off the season by hosting individual webinars with national football associations to unveil the new education concept and guidelines.
The new procedures will become a part of UEFA HatTrick regulations from 2024 onwards. HatTrick distributes money from UEFA EURO tournaments back into the game via national associations, with €935 million set to be distributed between 2024 and 2028. That will mean additional funding to develop and adapt anti-doping and anti-match-fixing strategies, with each association receiving up to €20,000 each year to invest on anti-doping education activities and up to €75,000 on anti-match-fixing initiatives.
In order to make sure that all national associations receive the necessary support to successfully deliver the sessions to their youth teams, UEFA has also created a new online integrity officer education toolbox and an anti-doping education platform, offering templates and materials to bring the important messages to life.
Special support in Gibraltar
UEFA’s anti-doping experts recently staged a special series of introductory anti-doping seminars and presentations alongside the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA)
All clubs from the Gibraltar Football League, the Women’s Football League, both divisions of the Futsal League and the new Under-17 League were represented, with specially tailored sessions also delivered to national team coaches and medical staff.
The seminars tackled key areas in relation to anti-doping measures, providing insight on the core principles of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and UEFA’s work in keeping the beautiful game clean, fair and competitive.
Players and coaches were also taken through UEFA procedures on random testing at matches and given all the information they needed on the process and how to ensure they are following the rules.
National team coaches and medical staff learnt about Therapeutic Use Exemptions (“TUEs”) and the ways in which players with medical conditions which certain medications that contain substances that are banned by WADA, can apply for a TUE.