UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) – Written evidence (NPS0166)


Created in 2009 UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) is the UK’s National Anti-Doping Organisation and an arm’s length body accountable to Parliament through the Secretary of State of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). UKAD’s roles and responsibilities are all set out in the UK National Anti-Doping Policy (Policy), owned by the UK Government and Devolved Administrations. The Policy is the main mechanism by which the UK Government and Devolved Administrations seek to meet the UK’s obligations under the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport. It is also incumbent upon UKAD to ensure that it and sport in the UK complies with the World Anti-Doping Code produced by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

UKAD’s function as a regulator within sport

Our functions include:


Prevention through a robust education programme

Our extensive education programme promotes the values of clean sport to all as well as ensuring all participants are fully aware of the anti-doping rules. The education programme covers the athlete journey and starts with resources for teachers to educate children as young as seven on the principles of playing fairly and by the rules.


UKAD provides a range of free online digital education to support athletes and coaches to learn and promote anti-doping measures including a Coach Clean course and a Clean Sport Advisor course. For many of those people working in athlete support personnel roles, ensuring they have an up to date Clean Sport Advisor qualification is a mandatory component of their employment.


In an agreement known as the Clean Games Policy, UKAD, along with the British Olympic Association, British Paralympic Association, the Home Country Sports Councils and UK Sport agree that all UK athletes representing their country at an Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games must complete UKAD education prior to competing. This is delivered by UKAD and UKAD Accredited Educators from National Governing Body (NGB) and explains both the anti-doping rules and also the specific Games time rules.


Intelligence-led athlete testing
UKAD undertakes intelligence led athlete testing (through urine and blood samples) across more than 40 Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth and professional sports. Athletes can be tested at any time and anywhere. It will also be conducted with “no advanced notice”. Testing is both a way to catch and deter doping cheats. Testing can take place in-competition at events, or out-of-competition, in training venues, or even at an athlete’s home.


Sanctioning athletes or athlete support personnel for wrongdoing

UKAD is responsible for the results management of Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) committed by athletes or athlete support personnel that fall under its jurisdiction as the UK’s National Anti-Doping Organisation.


This means communicating the results of anti-doping tests to NGBs and presenting cases before the independent National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP). Under the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code (Code) there are 11 Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRV), some of which relate to the finding of prohibited substances in samples - known as analytical ADRVs and the others are referred to as non-analytical ADRVs, typically where information has been provided through intelligence about possession, administering or trafficking, or an athlete has evaded a test or tampered with a sample, or failed to comply with Whereabouts rules.


If an athlete or athlete support person who is charged with an ADRV accepts the sanction, then UKAD can impose a sanction on them according to the Code, for example, a four-year ban from sport. If the athlete contests the charge, the case is heard in front of an independent tribunal of the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP). The NADP is a national tribunal and appeals body for the UK and other relevant parties such as the Athletics Integrity Unit. The Panel is funded by DCMS and entirely independent of sporting governing bodies and UKAD.

UKAD’s research on integrity issues 

In August 2020, UKAD released a report with research commissioned from Swansea University to identify if issues of integrity, such as match-fixing, safeguarding, corruption, misconduct or doping across the sport sector are linked, and investigate if there are benefits to sport working closely on minimising the threat of these issues. UKAD also recognises its tangential responsibilities in terms of protecting public health as were drawn out from its IPED report.


The study produced by Swansea University revealed that an overwhelming majority (75%) of sport organisations had an integrity function. There was a disparity in funding; some sports bodies have committed over £2 million a year to integrity issues, while over half the sports surveyed had less than £10,000 per year to fund dedicated integrity functions.


Other key findings from the report were:


     With multiple definitions of sport integrity currently in use, a new industry-wide definition is needed, and could incorporate personal, competition and organisational integrity to cover a full range of issues classified as integrity

     Various individuals, teams and organisations within sport are dealing with issues and tasks relating to integrity differently both internally and externally

     A sector wide integrity strategy could be beneficial in establishing structures and partnerships in sport to enable knowledge and practice sharing.


The findings were used to create a map of the sport integrity landscape in the UK, resulting in 24 recommendations for future governance including: the formation of a UK-wide Sport Integrity Forum, the development of a Sport Integrity Education Strategy, the formation of a practice-sharing criteria and partnership within sport based on threats and resource levels, and an agreement on an operational definition for sport integrity.


On the back of the report DCMS agreed to host a sports wide Integrity Forum. The steering group of this Forum has so far met virtually once in September 2020.


Link to the report UKAD Integrity In Sport Report.pdf


24 June 2021