UK Anti-Doping to increase testing by 50% backed by new government funds

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Sniffer dogs may be used - Ukad chairman

UK Anti-Doping will increase publicly funded testing by 50% by the end of March 2022 under a new strategic plan.

The agency will also employ sniffer dogs and increase the number of investigations into people who work with athletes.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch announced a review last year, saying Ukad needed to become "fit for purpose".

In January, the agency was awarded an extra £6m over two years.

Launched in 2009 and responsible for ensuring clean sport in the UK, Ukad has now set a target of 6,000 publicly funded tests a year by 2022, up from 4,000.

Ukad also plans to ask sports governing bodies to contribute more towards anti-doping and ask sponsors of sports events to specify funds to anti-doping.

Discussing the organisation's plans to use sniffer dogs, Ukad chairman Trevor Pearce told BBC Sport: "Putting a passive sniffer dog at an event where it may sniff out illicit substances is a good disruption technique.

"It might not have any success, but nonetheless it is drawing attention to people that we are trying to think of a range of measures.

"It is not beyond the realms of possibility that we will see sniffer dogs at major sporting events in this country, but in terms of out-of-competition venues, in terms of training venues, these are the sorts of issues we can push forward."

Boosting its annual budget from about £8m to £11m has also allowed Ukad to recruit around 10 new staff.

Also included in the strategy is an emphasis on grassroots to elite-level athlete education, and a greater presence at sporting events.

Ukad says there will also be an emphasis on encouraging people to come forward with information, with nearly half of all anti-doping cases in the past two years having originated from intelligence reports received by the organisation.

Last year, the agency feared it could be made insolvent over a dispute with former world heavyweight champion boxer Tyson Fury, who tested positive for a banned steroid in June 2016.

An inquiry into the Sir Bradley Wiggins jiffy-bag scandal ended in deadlock when Ukad failed to find any evidence, and dropped a long and costly investigation, saying it had been "hindered" by British Cycling.

"The additional funding from government has enabled us to be more bold and ambitious in our planning, expanding our investment into innovative approaches, as well as improving and growing current practices to help protect every athlete's right to clean sport," added Pearce.

Crouch said: "We must do everything we can to make sure sport is free from doping. Ukad has always been at the forefront of this fight, but as the world of doping evolves we cannot afford to be complacent.

"This new strategic plan, supported by additional government funding, will help combat doping and ensure that clean athletes are competing on a level playing field."

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