UEFA deny that football has a steroid problem after publication of doping study
European football's governing body UEFA has insisted the number of players taking performance-enhancing drugs is very low in response to allegations that its latest study reveals otherwise.
German television broadcasters ARD and WDR, alongside the Sunday Times, claim a study commissioned by UEFA fuels suspicions that drug-taking by football's top players is at a significant level.
High testosterone levels were found in urine samples of 7.7 percent of the 879 players tested by researchers, the study reportedly says, with the claim these could be explained by the use of anabolic steroids.
But UEFA says no definitive conclusions can be drawn from the study, while no player faces sanctions because the samples were provided anonymously.
UEFA asked for 4,195 urine samples, mainly from players who played in the Champions League and Europa League, to be tested between 2008 and 2013 and scientists from 12 anti-doping laboratories in Europe worked on the study.
The governing body said no B sample was taken and no additional analysis was undertaken to confirm whether the high levels of testosterone were due to doping or not.
A UEFA statement read: "Further to media reports this evening, UEFA would like to clarify a number of points regarding the report that it commissioned and contributed to which was published earlier this month.
"This study does not present any scientific evidence of potential doping in football especially due to the presence of confounding factors, the lack of standardisation procedures among the 12 laboratories and the quantification of steroid profiles when the samples were collected.
"Furthermore, there was an inability to perform a second analysis (B sample) as required now by the WADA international standards for laboratories.
"The study simply shows that the introduction of steroidal biological passport in football would be beneficial by offering further analysis possibilities in case of atypical test results.
"UEFA has had a very thorough anti-doping programme for many years with over 2000 tests a year and only two occurrence of positive tests, both for recreational drugs, which proves that doping in football is extremely rare.
"UEFA has now implemented a new steroid profiling programme which has come into operation at the start of the 2015/16 season.
"The programme will boost the already strong deterrent effect of UEFA's testing programme, as it will help better detect the effects of doping over time, thereby complementing existing direct anti-doping testing."