Drugs-testing gap in Scotland worries Wada president Craig Reedie

There were no drugs tests within Scottish football for nine months of last year

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) says the lack of testing within Scottish football is "not good news".

No tests have been carried out in the nine-month period to the end of 2016.

It followed a decision by UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) not to fund drugs testing in the Scottish game.

The Scottish Football Association board has recently approved its own funding, which is expected to be reflected in testing figures for the first three months of 2017.

"In my view it is unfortunate if any country which purports to be a serious player in the football world has a gap in its testing programme," Wada president Craig Reedie told BBC Scotland.

"I think the SFA is slowly getting its act together in terms of a budget to do some testing, but a nine month absence is not good news."

A BBC investigation last year revealed only eight tests had taken place in Scotland between April and December 2015. Twenty were carried out in the first three months of last year but none since.

The SFA acknowledged the need to strengthen their anti-doping stance but took until November to allocate funding to allow Ukad to carry out more tests throughout the remainder of this season.

The SFA's security and integrity officer Peter McLaughlin has been visiting clubs to make anti-doping rules clear to players.

Last week, Wada said it was alarmed by the lack of testing in Spain's top leagues since it declared their national anti-doping agency non-compliant.

And another BBC investigation this week revealed at least 39% of players who played in the English Football League last season were not drugs tested by Ukad.

"Ukad's budget issues would be pretty keen, particularly in an Olympic year," added Scotsman Reedie.

"From the SFA's point of view, if they knew that no public interest tests were going to be done, then they should have started a programme as quickly as possible.

"You take some confidence from the fact a programme is being developed and it will get under way. But you do stand condemned a little bit in the public eye if you do nothing for a period of several months.

"It rather flies against comments from leading athletes in other sports who are continually saying that there isn't enough testing."

An SFA statement read: "We are in final negotiations with Ukad with a view to the Scottish FA providing funding to test for the remainder of this season.

"In addition, our security and integrity officer has just completed a comprehensive anti-doping education programme for all senior clubs."

And Ukad revealed the importance of funding to its programme of testing.

A statement read: "We work across 50 different Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports on a budget of £7m. We therefore use intelligence-led testing to target our resources where the greatest risk of doping lies.

"We encourage sports to invest further in anti-doping and provide additional support to our programmes."

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