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Anti-Doping

Protect The Game

The FA’s Doping Control Regulations protect the integrity of the game and help to safeguard players’ health. These rules ensure that no player can use a banned drug or treatment method to improve their performance. This keeps the game fair and free from cheating.

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What you need to know

Drug Testing

The FA conducts random blood and urine tests for the substances included on the Prohibited List. You can be drug-tested after a game, at a training session or at home, and may be asked to provide a urine or blood sample.

If you are selected for a drug test, you must attend the Doping Control Station (DCS) immediately. It's important to remember that as well as performance-enhancing drugs, recreational drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy or cannabis are also banned at all times.

You might face disciplinary charges, including a suspension of up to four years if:

  • a banned substance is present in your sample
  • you refuse to provide a sample
  • you fail to attend the DCS immediately
  • you are abusive or insulting towards a Doping Control official
  • you interfere with the drug-testing process

Medication

Most of the drugs on The FA's banned list can be found in everyday medicines. Always check whether any ingredients in a medicine are banned before you take it.

If you do need to take a medicine that contains a prohibited substance, such as a cough or cold remedy, you should consult with your club doctor and ask for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

We would recommend you avoid taking any supplements, unless directed by your club doctor, as the industry is largely unregulated and banned substances aren't always listed on ingredients' lists.


Recreational Drugs and Alcohol

While alcohol is not banned, The FA Doping Control Regulations prohibit players from taking recreational drugs at all times.

If you're found to have taken recreational drugs, you will face a suspension of up to six months. However, this ban can increase to up to two years if a drug is detected when you're tested after a match.

We advise you to be cautious when drinking alcohol, as it is usually a common factor in cases where players have tested positive for recreational drugs. If you do decide to drink in public places, think carefully about how much you have, and remember to keep your drinks with you at all times to make sure they can't be spiked.


Testing and Whereabouts

If you're leaving early/arriving late to a training session, or missing it completely, you are obliged to notify The FA.

Your notification to The FA must include:

  • your club details
  • your full name
  • your full address including postcode
  • a one-hour time slot, between 6 am and 11 pm, when you are available for testing at home. This must be provided at least two hours in advance.

Useful Contacts and Downloads

If you need more information about anti-doping, drugs or alcohol, check out the following resources, speak to your club staff, or contact The FA or PFA for more information.

FAQ's

What should I do if I’ve accidentally consumed a banned substance?

If you are worried you may have accidentally taken a prohibited substance, you should contact your club and The FA Anti-Doping team on 0800 149 1863 extension 4334 immediately.

What happens if I fail a test?

Failing a test constitutes an anti-doping violation and you will be asked to provide an explanation. You will be entitled to support from a PFA representative throughout the entire disciplinary process and at any subsequent hearings. If you cannot provide a sufficient explanation, you are likely to face sanctions.