UEFA reinforces player’s rights within its anti-doping programme and disciplinary procedures

UEFA has introduced changes to its Disciplinary Regulations, which ensure that all players have the right to defend themselves if they are charged with failing a doping test.

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UEFA has taken steps to ensure all players have the right to defend themselves if they are charged with failing a doping test. The changes were adopted into the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR) following the approval of the UEFA Executive Committee in June.

The new additions to the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations include further articles to protect players who have had doping cases opened against them, while also ensuring that UEFA’s disciplinary bodies continue to remain independent.

UEFA is aware that financial discrepancies exist amongst football players within UEFA’s 55 member associations. As from 15 June 2017, UEFA has enforced provisions which include the guaranteeing of legal aid and pro bono counsel to football players with insufficient financial means (Article 39 DR). In addition, disciplinary proceedings opened against individuals charged with anti-doping rule violations are free of costs (Article 51 (2) DR), including also the appeal fee (Article 60 (4) DR).

The independence of UEFA’s disciplinary bodies is of the upmost importance for the integrity of disciplinary procedures undertaken by the organisation. To improve transparency, members of UEFA disciplinary bodies must now sign an official declaration undertaking to exercise their functions (Article 32 (1) DR).

Furthermore, hearings can be opened to the public in cases of anti-doping rule violations involving individuals if duly requested by the defendant and approved by the chairman of the relevant disciplinary body (Article 41 (7) DR).

With the introduction of the above amendments, UEFA considers its disciplinary procedures to be both more robust and independent than ever. The new system ensures a football player will be in a better position if that person is to have a disciplinary case heard before UEFA’s disciplinary bodies.

UEFA is showing its commitment not only to the fight against doping, but is also increasing transparency by ensuring all football players located under UEFA’s umbrella have access to a fair trial.