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All footballers have the right to play football knowing that they, their team-mates and the opposition, have not been using banned substances.

The Football Association (FA) supports drug free football and works in partnership with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) to ensure that the integrity of football is protected.

The use of banned substances, particularly performance-enhancing drugs and other doping behaviour severely damages the legitimacy of football and undermines the integrity of clean footballers.

The FA’s Anti-Doping Programme combines testing and education to ensure that it is effective in detecting and deterring drug use within the game and educating football’s Participants about Anti-Doping, its risks and consequences.

The Anti-Doping Regulations, contained in The FA Handbook, are the Anti-Doping rules which govern all participants in football. 

The FA’s Anti-Doping Regulations are consistent with the World Anti-Doping Code, which governs anti-doping internationally.

Some points to note are:

  • A positive test for any banned substance, including a Social Drug, on a match day is a breach of The FA’s Anti-Doping regulations and can lead to a two or four year ban for a first offence. 

  • Two new Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs); Complicity and Prohibited Association have been introduced. 

  • The time period for Whereabouts violations has been reduced to 12 months (from 18 months). 

  • The time limit to issue a charge for an ADRV has increased from eight to 10 years. (Players, coaches and officials can now be charged for breaches that occurred up to 10 years previously, rather than eight).

In line with professional Players in the Premier League, Championship, League 1 & League 2, Players competing in Professional Development League 1 (category 1 clubs) must now apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), prior to using or possessing a banned substance or method.


More information on Prohibited Association

Prohibited Association means Participants in football are now prohibited from working in a sport related capacity with Player Support Personnel who are currently serving a sanction for an ADRV or who have served a sanction within the last six years. Before any Participant can be found to have breached this ADRV, they will be notified in writing to explain that the individual that they are associating with is currently ‘disqualified’. If a Participant refuses to stop the association then they may be charged with committing an ADRV. The sanction for this offence is a minimum of one years' suspension up to a maximum of two years.

As part of this process the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have issued ‘The Prohibited Association List’ - a list of Athlete Support Personnel who are currently serving a sanction or who have served a sanction within the last six years. The list will be published each quarter on the WADA website and can be found here.

Anti-Doping Regulations
Social Drugs Policy Regulations
A Short Guide to The FA Anti-Doping Regulations

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