PARIS: A total of 1,818 samples have been collected from players taking part in Euro 2016 – all of which have been negative – both out of competition and at matches.

A total of 1,818 samples have been collected from players since European federation UEFA’s anti-doping testing began on January 1 this year. All sample results received so far have been negative.

Some 354 samples collected during the competition at matches can be added to the 1,464 out-of-competition samples – both pre-tournament and between matches at UEFA EURO 2016. All 24 qualified teams have been visited by doping control officers from UEFA and national anti-doping agencies (NADOs).

Samples have included blood, urine and serum, and have been analysed by the WADA-accredited French anti-doping laboratory at Chatenay-Malabry, close to Paris. UEFA has been working very closely with the NADOs of the participating nations in order to implement the best possible testing programme in the run-up to – and during – the finals.

The 2015-16 season also brought the introduction of the athlete bioogical passportto monitor players over time, and provide intelligence for target testing. This is seen as a significant deterrent to any player who might consider blood doping or taking banned steroids.

In another deterrent measure, UEFA has introduced a long-term sample storage programme. Samples from European Championships and the major club competitions will be stored, which means that UEFA will be in a position to reanalyse them when required, due to intelligence received or new analytical techniques becoming available.