13 March, 2011

Irish Sports Council state stance after recent GAA drug testing controversy:

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Dr. Una May:   ISC's anti-doping unit
The Irish Sports Council (ISC) has stated that it has no problem conducting anti-doping tests on Gaelic players before or during training. Dr. Una May of the ISC's anti-doping unit confirmed Croke Park has made them aware that out-of-competition testing can be done at what would appear to be a more suitable time when the player is hydrated.
The news comes after a dehydrated Kerry footballer was detained for over three hours after training in Tralee on Tuesday night while attempting to produce a urine sample. "The GAA were notified and took on board last year that we have never had any problem about testing being done before training," revealed May. "We have been testing after training so as to try to avoid disrupting training sessions. If we wanted a sample beforehand, we could potentially interfere with what the manager was attempting to get done. There is no issue there. A sample can be given at any point; before, during or after a training session."
Irish Sports Council Chairman: John Treacy
However, May confirmed that a similar procedure cannot be adopted for matchdays. The urine samples have to be produced following the game. "In competition; testing is different because you're testing for different substances, things that could potentially have a performance-enhancing benefit, during competition," explained May. May also stated that the possibility of blood tests replacing urine tests in anti-doping procedures this year as unlikely. "It's still a very new programme so we don't have a specific timeline. We're evolving it at the moment. We're focussing on a very narrow range of sports at the moment." May continued by stating: "Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to make the situation of any athletes waiting to give a sample any better. It's annoying, frustrating and time-consuming."
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