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 10 ADRVs under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code.
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 and Investigations 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 and Investigations 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 10 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 10 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
- 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
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 here.
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 an athlete has the opportunity to eliminate or reduce the period of ineligibility (in exceptional circumstances).
A period of ineligibility may be reduced in a number of ways, depending on the nature of the ADRV and/or the nature of the Prohibited Substance detected in an athlete's sample. If an athlete or athlete support person can establish that an ADRV was not intentional (as that term is defined in the anti-doping rules) if required the period of ineligibility may be reduced. An athlete or athlete support person may also reduce the period of ineligibility if they can demonstrate that they were at No Fault or Negligence or No Significant Fault or Negligence for the ADRV. In matters concerning the presence of a specified substance, an athlete may also be able to reduce the period of ineligibility if they are able to establish that the detected Prohibited Substance came from a contaminated product. Any reduction in the period of ineligibility will be based on the athlete's degree of fault in the circumstances of the case.
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 another ADRV (by one or more people) WADA has the discretion to agree a complete suspension of the period of ineligibility.
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 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 an ASP 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 more than two team members are found to have committed an ADRV during an event period the ruling body of the event shall impose an appropriate sanction on the whole team.