As well as sample collection, UK Anti-Doping (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 National Governing Bodies (NGBs), and presenting cases before the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP), in respect of athletes and/or Athlete Support Personnel (ASP) charged with committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). In total, there are 10 ADRVs under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code.
UKAD can impose sanctions on athletes/ASP charged with committing an ADRV. Athletes/ASP can either accept these sanctions or request arbitration before an independent tribunal of the NADP.
After a sample is provided by an athlete, the Doping Control Officer (DCO) will send the samples to a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory, maintaining a secure chain of custody.
On arrival at the laboratory, the A-sample is analysed and the B-sample frozen. There are three possible outcomes following sample analysis;
an Atypical Finding
an Adverse Analytical Finding
If no prohibited substance and/or its metabolite(s), 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 (or others identified by WADA) 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.
Typically, we will not notify the athlete of an Atypical Finding until we have completed the investigation and decided whether to bring the Atypical Finding forward as an Adverse Analytical Finding
On conclusion of the further investigation, we will advise the athlete as to whether or not there is evidence of the administration of a prohibited substance and/or 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.
Upon receipt of an A-sample Adverse Analytical Finding, we 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 we will report the outcome to the athlete.
Notice of Charge
There are 10 ADRVs that can result in a sanction. 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(s) the athlete/ASP 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/ASP (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/ASP can choose to accept the ADRV and the sanctions specified in the Notice of Charge. In these circumstances, an agreed Issued Decision will be published on the UKAD website.
Alternatively, if the athlete/ASP wishes to dispute the ADRV and/or the sanctions imposed, he or she can request a hearing before an independent tribunal of the NADP.
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 confirms 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/ASP 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 NADP.
The NADP is a national tribunal and appellate body for the UK, entirely independent of sporting governing bodies and UKAD.
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(s) detected in an athlete's sample, as follows:
If an athlete or ASP can establish that an ADRV was not intentional (as that term is defined in the anti-doping rules)
If an athlete or ASP 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, if an athlete is 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 that supports further ADRVs (by one or more people), or the athlete can provide information that results in a criminal/disciplinary case, UKAD (with approval from WADA) has the discretion to agree suspension of part 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 Appeal Tribunal.
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. ASP, such as coaches and doctors, are also subject to the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code.
In the event that an ASP is 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.