New WADA report shows near 50% drop drug testing during pandemic

By David Owen

January 11 – New figures from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have detailed a sharp decline in the number of drug tests, owing to covid.

The agency’s 2020 Testing Figures Report puts the number of footballers’ samples analysed at just over 22,000. This is down from more than 40,000 a year earlier.

The number of adverse analytical findings (AAFs), or positive tests, in the sport was in sharp decline as well – plummeting from 138 in 2019 to just 66.

The steepest falls in analysis levels were in blood testing. In-competition blood sample analysis reached just 19.1% of the 2019 level, while the 763 out-of-competition blood tests in 2020 amounted to 38.2% of the previous year’s tally.

In-competition urine tests – the majority of tests administered in football – attained 51.5% of 2019 levels in 2020, while out-of-competition urine tests totted up to 68.4% of the prior year’s level.

Football’s performance in out-of-competition blood tests did not compare particularly favorably with other Olympic sports. The beautiful game’s achievement in reaching 38.2% of 2019 levels ranked it 23rd among Summer Olympic sports and behind only one Winter Olympic sport.

Five Summer and Winter Olympic sports failed to reach 30% of 2019 levels for out-of-competition blood tests, according to the WADA statistics. These were golf, aquatics, ice hockey, tennis and volleyball.

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