Scottish Football Lags Behind on Drug Testing

No drug tests have been carried out on Scottish footballers this season while English clubs have carried out regular screening, a report has revealed.

Over the last 18 months, just 28 drug tests have been carried out on players at football clubs in Scotland, according to the Evening Times. In contrast, the Football Association (FA) in England has carried out 3,431 drugs tests in the same period – more than 1,000 of which were taken this season.

Although England has 92 football clubs compared to Scotland’s 42, there is still a big gap between the levels of drug testing taking place in each country. The reason for this is thought to be due to the difference in financial contributions towards drug testing.

The tests are carried out by UK Anti-Doping, which receives a £7 million annual contribution from the FA but no money from the Scottish Football Association.

A UK Anti-Doping spokesman told the Evening Times: “The SFA don’t put any money into testing which is why the numbers of tests are so low. We have limited resources and we have to put them into where we see the biggest problems and the biggest risks.”

The SFA don’t put any money into drug testing

Sports are expected to pay money towards drug testing if the issue is seen as important. And for it to be effective, random drug testing is recommended as well as tests in response to information or incidents involving particular people.

A spokesman for the SFA said: “The current anti-doping procedures from Ukad are intelligence-led. Nonetheless we have agreed to fund additional tests for the remainder of the season and are in in final discussion with Ukad on the matter.”

Drug use is not just a problem within sport. Employees abusing illegal substances and prescription medication can cause major issues in the workplace, posing risks to health and safety and affecting absence rates and productivity.

Some companies, particularly those where the safety of staff, customers and the public is critical, have decided to introduce drug policies which allow workers to be tested. Screening can include random drug testing, which can act as a deterrent, and post-incident tests which can form part of an investigation into an event or complaint at work.

It is also possible to introduce drug testing as part of the recruitment process so employers can check new recruits do not have a history of drug or alcohol abuse before they take up the position.