CONTROLS IN PRACTICE
In 2020, work continued on the implementation of the doping control policy, which was drawn up in partnership with NOC*NSF. The emphasis of the doping controls is on the very top levels of Dutch sports. Considerable attention was also paid to the whereabouts system. Some elite athletes, if they are members of national or international registered testing pools, are required to report some of the locations associated with their daily activities to Doping Authority Netherlands or the international federation.
Intelligence & Investigations is housed with the Enforcement & Investigations department. The merger of the Doping Control and Intelligence & Investigations processes resulted in direct exchanges of information and optimal collaboration. See Chapter 3 for more about Intelligence & Investigations.
Doping controls are the main tool at our disposal for investigating anti-doping rule violations but they are also important in terms of prevention. This chapter reports on the number of doping violations identified on the basis of doping controls and on the nature of those violations. However, it is not known how many athletes refrain from doping use or stop in response to the doping control programme.
Adjustments to doping control procedures as a result of COVID-19
After the virtual suspension of the doping control programme as a result of the first lockdown in early 2020, the Enforcement & Investigations department initiated the development of a modified, innovative and 'corona-proof' doping control procedure that would make unannounced doping controls possible during the pandemic. All in line with the applicable Dutch national guidelines and subsequent WADA reports.
A detailed control process has been designed and described in line with a four-track policy. The overriding consideration is always to maximise safety for both the athlete and the DCO (distance, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, etc.). An important component is the triage of both the doping control officer and the athlete using questionnaires developed specifically for this purpose. On the basis of the results of that screening process, one of the following tracks is adopted:
- Doping control at the athlete's home
- Doping control in another location, for example in the mobile doping control station
- Adapted remote doping control by video link
- Suspension of the control process
For each of the four scenarios, the prevailing instructions/procedures for the doping control officers have been adapted and tightened up, with particular attention being paid to the use of personal protective equipment, hand hygiene, disinfection of materials and surfaces, and privacy.
The modified remote doping control by video link can be used when an athlete is in self-isolation/quarantine. To make this possible, a special procedure has been developed using the paperless testing system and the mobile doping control station. In this scenario, the athlete receives an adapted doping control kit with a tablet on which there is a video link to the DCO who is present in the mobile doping control station (or a similar vehicle) at that moment. The athlete performs all the procedures and is coached by the DCO via the video link. As many safeguards as possible have been put into place to prevent possible manipulation of the process. In order to inform the athletes about this adjusted procedure, an animated film and an information card have been produced in collaboration with the Education department. The approach has generated considerable international interest.
Registered Testing Pool (RTP)
On the basis of the amended World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) and the associated International Standards, Doping Authority Netherlands has established a Registered Testing Pool (RTP). Athletes in this RTP are required to comply with a number of obligations. For example, when using medicines on the prohibited list, they must apply for a therapeutic use exemption from the TUE committee. They must also provide whereabouts information and attend an education session organised by Doping Authority Netherlands.
There were fourteen sports associations with athletes in the RTP in 2020. That is more than in 2019 (when there were twelve sports associations). The number of athletes in the RTP was also slightly higher than in 2019: 388 athletes at the beginning of 2020 as opposed to 369 athletes at the beginning of 2019. Once again in 2020, athletes were only required to provide whereabouts information to one organisation: either Doping Authority Netherlands or the international federation. Doping Authority Netherlands uses the whereabouts module of the global administration and management system ADAMS and the app developed by WADA in-house (Athlete Central). In 2020, Doping Authority Netherlands also drew extensively on information from external sources such as the websites of national and international federations, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, to determine where athletes were to be found.
Controls conducted - general
Doping Authority Netherlands conducted two types of doping control for Dutch sports in 2020: controls in the context of the Dutch national programme, and doping controls on behalf and for the account of third parties, including Dutch and international federations, event organisers, foreign National Anti-Doping Organisations and professional sports organisations. The responsibilities of Doping Authority Netherlands also included controls pursuant to official records, target controls when there were specific suspicions, and various types of follow-up investigations. Controls in the Netherlands included not only Dutch athletes, but also athletes from other countries who were present in the Netherlands. They were sometimes conducted on behalf of other Anti-Doping Organisations.
The national programme – underlying principles
The annual plan for 2020 included a national programme of some 2,500 doping controls. Approximately 20% of the available controls were earmarked for target controls, follow-up investigations, and for doping controls pursuant to official records and meeting official limits. On the basis of the anti-doping policy, Doping Authority Netherlands divided the remaining controls (approximately 80%) between the different sports disciplines. This allocation was made using a distribution model – based on international guidelines – that includes information such as sport-specific physiological characteristics and international and national doping incidence statistics.
The national programme – implementation
The standard for the number of doping controls to be carried out under the national programme in 2020 was 2,500 doping controls. As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic and its national impact on society in general and sport in particular, the implementation of doping controls has run up against a range of various challenges, obstacles and difficulties.
In 2020, 1,505 controls were conducted as part of the national control programme (the national programme implemented in 2019 consisted of 2,427 doping controls). The overwhelming majority (1,245) were urine controls. There were also 260 blood controls in 2020, for example in the context of the Athlete Biological Passport. That is fewer than in 2019 (-28%). This lower number can be explained by the fact that the doping control programme largely came to a standstill during the first lockdown in March and the second lockdown at the end of the year.
The 1,505 doping controls conducted for the national control programme covered 65 Olympic/Paralympic sports and 12 non-Olympic/Paralympic sports in a ratio of 94:6. There were no doping controls in a number of non-Olympic sports and sports that are not susceptible to doping, examples being mind sports.
Doping controls in the National Control Programme: the top five
The percentage of out-of-competition controls (blood and urine) in the national programme was 65%. This was more than in 2019 (51%). This increase is mainly attributable to the large-scale cancellation of competitions and events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 1,505 doping controls (blood and urine) conducted for sports in the Netherlands, 857 involved men (57%) and 648 women (43%).
Doping controls for third parties
A total of 156 doping controls were conducted on the basis of assignments from third parties, 78% fewer than in 2019 when a total of 713 controls were conducted in this way. This fall can be explained by reference to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated government policies.
In previous years, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) and the Royal Dutch Cycling Union (KNWU) have financed an additional doping control programme alongside the national programme for Dutch competitions. Because most national competitions and events were cancelled in 2020, fewer controls have been carried out on behalf of the KNVB and no controls have been conducted in the context of the KNWU's 'Racing for a Clean Sport' programme.
Various Dutch associations and sports organisations have asked for quotations for additional controls from Doping Authority Netherlands for international events in the Netherlands. A large proportion of the assignments for which quotations were given were not executed due to the cancellation of events as a result of the pandemic and the related government regulations.
The majority of the additional doping controls conducted for Dutch and foreign associations and organisers were in-competition controls (56%). Of the doping controls for third parties, 82% involved men and 18% involved women.
Doping controls - total
The controls for the national control programme and the controls for third parties together make up the total doping control programme in 2020. A total of 1,661 doping controls were conducted.
|Doping controls conducted for Dutch sport (Dutch national programme)||Urine||Blood||Total|
|Doping controls conducted for Dutch sport (Dutch national programme)||1.245||260||1.505|
|Doping controls conducted for foreign sports organisations and other organisations||124||32||156|
|Total conducted by Doping Authority Netherlands||1.369||292||1.661|
|Number of doping controls||2020||2019|
|On behalf of third parties||156||713|
Total number of doping controls: the top five
The total number of 1,661 doping controls for Dutch sports and sports organisations was considerably less than in 2019, when there were 3,140 doping controls.
|Sport||Association*||National Programme (Netherlands)||Conducted for third parties||Total conducted|
|Ice hockey||IJshockey NL||4||0||4||0||0||0||4||0||4|
|Mixed Martial Arts||UFC||0||0||0||8||0||8||8||0||8|
* This column has been included to allow for a comparison with 2019.
|Sport||Association*||In competition||Out of competition|
|Ice hockey||IJshockey NL||4||0||4||0||0||0|
|Mixed Martial Arts||UFC||0||0||0||8||0||8|
* This column has been included on a one-off basis to allow for a comparison with 2019.
Whereabouts filing failures
A total of 24 definitive whereabouts failures were registered in 2020. Whereabouts failures can be either missed tests (when the athlete is not present at the stated location in the 60 minute time slot) or filing failures (the failure to comply with the obligation to supply adequate whereabouts information correctly and in good time).
The number of whereabouts failures was 35% lower in 2020 than in 2019 (when there were 37 cases). In 2020, two athletes were found to have two whereabouts filing failures in a twelve-month period. No athletes were found to have a third whereabouts filing failure in a period of twelve months.
The top five of the total number of definitive whereabouts failures in 2020 were accounted for by members of the Athletics Union, the Cycling Union, the Gymnastics Union, the Judo Association and the Swimming Association. It should be pointed out that associations with a large number of athletes in the Registered Testing Pool are more likely to have athletes who fail to meet whereabouts obligations. In 2020, the Athletics Union accounted for most whereabouts failures; the Rowing Union led this list in 2019.
Doping controls that did not take place
In addition to the controls that did not take place due to a missed test, a substantial number of planned doping controls failed to take place in 2020 for other reasons as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- the suspension of competitions, cancellation of events and the closing of training facilities;
- a shortage of capacity (DCOs) to implement the assignment within the specified time frame;
- the absence of athletes/teams from events and competitions and central training sessions, or their home addresses;
- unannounced cancellation or rescheduling of training sessions and competitions visited by the doping control official (DCO).
These included both out-of-competition and in-competition controls. When doping controls were not conducted, efforts were made to find an appropriate moment as quickly as possible thereafter to conduct the control in question after all, where appropriate by scheduling controls at an event of a comparable size, if such an event was available.
On the basis of a risk analysis, the relevant standards of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) for sports and sports disciplines include a specific calculation for the minimum percentages required for additional laboratory analyses. WADA's Technical Document for Sport Specific Analysis (TDSSA) includes binding provisions that apply to National Anti-Doping Organisations, including Doping Authority Netherlands. The analyses relate to, among other things, erythropoietin-like substances and growth hormones. The minimum number of specific additional analyses is expressed as a percentage of the number of doping controls conducted in a sport (percentage of additional analyses in addition to the standard analysis package).
In 2020, urine and/or blood samples were checked for Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs) in 37% of the 1,505 doping controls in the national programme. This percentage was the same as in 2019. The ESA analyses covered a range of relevant sports disciplines, with skating, cycling, athletics, swimming and rowing at the top of the list (in absolute numbers).
The urine and/or blood samples collected in 29% of 1,505 controls were also analysed for the presence of human growth hormone and/or Growth Hormone Releasing Factors (GHRFs). This percentage was virtually the same as in 2019 (30%). The samples came from a range of sports, with the leading sports in absolute numbers being skating, athletics, cycling, swimming and rowing.
In addition (as in 2019), various samples were also analysed for testosterone. Furthermore, large numbers of blood samples were taken to check for growth hormone, ESAs and Haemoglobin-Based Oxygen Carriers (HBOCs).
In 2020, the vast majority of the urine samples were stored to allow for the possibility of repeat analyses at some time in the future.
Unannounced doping controls
The total percentage of out-of-competition controls was 63%, an increase over 2019 (45%). Almost all doping controls were conducted without prior warning for the athlete ('no advance notice testing'). The only exceptions were doping controls triggered by a record or limit; in these cases, the initiative for the control resides with the athlete or the athlete's association.
Doping Authority Netherlands has the authority to conduct target controls. These controls are conducted in specific cases and on the basis of criteria determined beforehand. Target controls took place throughout the sports spectrum, with the emphasis being on a number of specific sports and individuals, and controls also being conducted on occasion at the level just below the very top. The Intelligence & Investigations chapter contains more information about this area.
Athlete Biological Passport
In this system, several blood samples are taken over time from selected athletes from a range of sports for the purposes of establishing longitudinal profiles. A total of 131 blood samples were collected for the purposes of the Athlete Biological Passport. These blood controls were conducted in the following sports: athletics, judo, rowing, skating, triathlon, football, cycling and swimming. The number of ABP controls was lower than in 2019, when 191 samples were taken.
In 2020, fourteen files with adverse (analytical and non-analytical) findings were registered with Doping Authority Netherlands. In thirteen cases, the adverse findings related to A urine samples. One case involved a non-analytical finding.
The percentage of adverse findings (including non-analytical findings) was, with 14 files from 1,661 controls, 0.8%. By comparison with the number of urine controls, the percentage was 1.0%. The percentage of adverse findings was lower than in 2019 (1.2%).
Files for which specific follow-up investigations were required
Of the thirteen registered files with adverse findings for the A urine samples, none involved atypical findings for which specific follow-up investigations were required with the aim of determining whether there had been a possible anti-doping rule violation. This matches 2019 and it is attributable to working with ADAMS and the longitudinal information about athletes based on national and international doping controls that has become available as a result. The introduction of the steroid passport and the close collaboration with an Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU) mean that the follow-up approach has changed.
Files closed on the grounds of therapeutic use exemptions
In nine cases, it was found that a therapeutic use exemption had already been granted prior to the doping control for the therapeutic use of the prohibited substance found. These files were therefore closed and did not result in proceedings with the disciplinary committee of the sports association in question.
|Judo||metabolite of methylphenidate||3||athlete in possession of therapeutic use exemption, file closed|
|Power lifting||amphetamine||1||athlete in possession of therapeutic use exemption, file closed|
|Skating||metabolite of methylphenidate||1||athlete in possession of therapeutic use exemption, file closed|
|Swimming||amphetamine||3||athlete in possession of therapeutic use exemption, file closed|
|Swimming||metabolite of methylphenidate||1||athlete in possession of therapeutic use exemption, file closed|
Classification according to the WADA Prohibited List
Upon classification at the group level in accordance with the 2020 WADA Prohibited List, a prohibited substance (or metabolite of such a substance) was found a total of eighteen times in the thirteen adverse A urine samples referred to above.
One urine sample contained five prohibited substances and/or metabolites of those substances. One urine sample contained two metabolites of prohibited substances.
There were findings in the category of stimulants in twelve of the eighteen cases. Metabolites of anabolic substances were found on six occasions.
|Peptide hormones, growth factors and related substances||1||0|
|Hormone and metabolic modulators||5||0|
|Diuretics / masking substances||11||0|
Anti-doping rule violations/cases resulting in proceedings
In one case in 2020, Doping Authority Netherlands made a proposal regarding a sanction to the athlete in question after proceedings with the sports association in question had been initiated. The athlete concerned accepted the proposal.
In 2020, Doping Authority Netherlands ultimately initiated proceedings in four cases (as opposed to thirteen in 2019) in four different sports because of possible infringements of the regulations of the sports association involved. All these cases involved men. One case has not yet been reported to the association. Power lifting accounted for the highest number of cases (two).
The percentage of violations noted on Dutch territory pursuant to controls conducted as part of the national programme was 0.3% (five cases under national anti-doping regulations resulting from 1,505 doping controls conducted as part of the national programme). In 2020, this percentage will be less than 1% for the first time in history.
|20/1||Voetbal||metabolite of cocaine||1||Settlement by ISR (on behalf of sports association)|
|20/2||Gewichtheffen||metabolite of methylphenidate, metabolite of drostanolone, metabolite of metandienone, metabolite of oxymetholone||1||Settlement by ISR (on behalf of sports association):|
|20/3||Gewichtheffen||SARMS RAD140||1||Sanction proposed by Doping Authority accepted:|
|20/4||Atletiek||SARMS LGD-4033 (ligandrol)||1||Settlement by ISR (on behalf of sports association)|
|20/5||Basketbal||Evasion, manipulation||1||Under consideration by Doping Authority Netherlands|