Universities urge caution over supplements as UKAD relaunches university Clean Sport Accreditation

Universities are urging students to be careful over the use of nutritional supplements, as many Higher Education institutions aim to achieve certification for UK Anti-Doping’s (UKAD’s) re-launched Clean Sport Accreditation scheme.

UKAD has refreshed the Clean Sport Accreditation, previously known as the University Accreditation Scheme, to ensure it continues to meet the needs of university partners in educating their athletes, staff and athlete support personnel, such as coaches and physiotherapists.

And with concerns mounting over the possibility of contamination of nutritional supplements used by elite and recreational athletes, as well as the wider public, some universities such as Loughborough are taking action to safeguard their students.

The university will only stock supplements on-site which have been batch-tested by Informed Sport, a quality assurance program for sports nutrition products which looks to reduce the risk to athletes of consuming contaminated products.

Education Development Manager, Simon Wombwell, said: “Ultimately we want to try and ensure our students have that risk-minimisation programme linked up with Informed Sport. We still strongly promote the athletes’ role in terms of strict liability, to check what they’re using. But first and foremost we want to push food-first, is it something they need, assess that need, then look at the risks and the consequences.”

To achieve accreditation in UKAD’s relaunched scheme universities must, among other criteria:

  • Publicly state their commitment to clean sport
  • Educate athletes and students involved in sport attending their institutions
  • Train and develop staff to ensure they are knowledgeable in anti-doping matters
  • Where relevant, able to deliver clean sport education on campus

Achieving the accreditation demonstrates they are an active part of the clean sport and prevention community. 

UKAD’s Head of Education, Amanda Hudson, said: “We are delighted to have launched our refreshed Clean Sport Accreditation for universities. This Accreditation is one of our most impactful initiatives within our education system and we are keen to ensure it remains current and relevant to help keep athletes and their support personnel at the forefront of clean sport.

“We recognise as part of our education strategy that the role of partners such as universities are critical to clean sport and without them the reach of UKAD’s education work would be significantly limited. Our Clean Sport Accreditation recognises those University Institutions, who like us, are dedicated to clean sport and wish to play their part in protecting the integrity of sport within the UK.”

Durham University’s Head of Sport and Physical Activity, Mark Brian, said: “Here at Durham we are serious about sport and the developmental and educational opportunities that it brings to individuals be they at an elite level or simply playing grassroots sport.   

“It is therefore vitally important to us to ensure that as many students and support staff as possible understand the benefits of a clean sport programme. Going through this process with UKAD enables us to embed the clean sport ethos across everything that we do. It provides us with training opportunities and information for us to share with everyone engaged in our programmes.” 

Three accredited institutions, Loughborough University, the University of Bath and Durham University, will soon be working towards re-accreditation via the refreshed standards, while a further 11 universities are working towards gaining accreditation for the first time.