Press releases 21st April 2021

Goals for 2020 were largely achieved despite Corona

• The 2020 financial year of Antidoping Switzerland was very much shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the goals could be achieved thanks to the great flexibility of all employees, but restrictions had to be accepted in the control activities.

Doping controls in compliance with protection concepts

Testing activity was made significantly more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of which fewer doping controls could be carried out than planned. With the application of protection concepts, however, the control activities never came to a complete standstill.

In spite of the difficult conditions, 1,538 doping controls were carried out in the reporting year, which corresponds to approx. 76% of the previous year. 1,194 controls took place outside of competition and 389 during competition. The numerous short-term postponements and cancellations of competitions as well as the often unclear season planning of athletes made the coordination of the doping controls much more difficult.

Follow-up analysis of long-term stored samples

A total of 109 follow-up analyses were carried out on 87 urine and blood samples from 2012 to 2016 and from various sports. In cooperation with the analysis laboratory in Lausanne, the samples were specifically selected based on various criteria.

Among other things, international incidents in the relevant sports, development steps in analysis technology and new knowledge about banned substances were taken into account. The results of the follow-up analyses were consistently negative, which means that no prohibited substances were found even when the doping samples were examined again.

Ten anti-doping rule violations

The disciplinary body for doping cases of Swiss Olympic (DK) made ten decisions on doping offences last year. This resulted in nine sanctions ranging from a warning to a 48-month ban. Seven cases concerned the use, attempted use or possession of anabolic steroids or hormone and metabolic modulators, one case concerned the use of various anabolic steroids and in another EPO was detected.

Expansion of international investigations

The strategic development of the investigation department continued in the year under review. The focus continued to be on cooperation with the various law enforcement authorities, but especially on our own investigative activities. In the year under review, Antidoping Switzerland was able to initiate and play a key role in various international investigations. Such investigations are often based on reports of suspicion by informants or so-called ‘whistleblowers’.

Doping prevention is increasingly digital

The pandemic also had an impact on prevention activities. Educational activities had to be adapted to the changing conditions and most of them had to be digitised. A total of around 1,400 athletes were trained in face-to-face classes and almost 9,000 people were trained using digital preventive measures.

The new and completely revised website of Antidoping Switzerland achieved a new annual record with almost 210,000 visits. At the end of the year, Antidoping Switzerland provided all national sports associations with an anti-doping section for their websites in order to offer all athletes and anyone interested easier access to the relevant information.

Intensive planning through postponing the Olympics

After doping control was able to return to normal from August 2020 thanks to secure protection concepts and intensive planning, even more intensive planning work is due this year. The reason for this is the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which will now fall in the same calendar year as the preparatory phase for the Winter Games in Beijing 2022. In the area of prevention, the supervision and training of two delegations will also mean an increased coordination effort.

New strategic leadership and further development

In January, the new Foundation Council of the Sports Parliament around the President Ulrich Kurmann started its work. In the fight against doping, the athlete’s perspective is to be given more consideration and the focus is to be directed even more towards the areas of prevention and investigation.

The newly signed framework agreements with the Federal Office for Sport (BASPO) and with Swiss Olympic grant Antidoping Switzerland – in the medium term and step by step – additional financial resources, which are extremely important for the central strategic fields of action of the new doping Statute. One of the most frequently mentioned concerns, not only on the part of Swiss athletes, is the improvement of equal opportunities through the consistent expansion of the global fight against doping.

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Annual report 2020

• This media release was published by Anti-Doping Switzerland on 21 April 2021. Click here for the original.

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