First for IRB anti-doping education programme

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 4 April 2012
 First for IRB anti-doping education programme
Portugal's players take the WADA quiz

The International Rugby Board’s anti-doping education programme broke new ground over the weekend with all 24 teams participating in the FIRA-AER European Under 18 Championship in Spain taking time out to learn about the importance of keeping rugby clean.

It was the first time the Outreach programme had taken place outside an IRB tournament and also involved the youngest players ever to have been educated, players who could be considered a high risk group given they are on the verge of playing senior rugby.

A pilot project driven by the IRB and its Regional Development Managers for Europe Doug Langley and Michel Arpaillange, with the support of FIRA-AER, saw all 24 teams attend a brief presentation, translated by team management, followed by players completing the WADA Anti-Doping quiz.

This quiz is the same one that players at the IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa and IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy  in Salt Lake City will complete in June as part of their anti-doping education.

IRB Anti-Doping Officer David Ho delivered the programme over three days in Spain, assisted by Langley and the Federación Española de Rugby’s Technical Director Ruben Duque, with the tournament match officials also keen to complete the programme as well as the teams.

“The idea behind this pilot project is to provide Regional Associations with the tools to be able to deliver this type of programme themselves in the future and making it a core part of their tournament legacy programme for age grade rugby,” explained Ho.

Positive response

“It is a stepping stone which we see as the perfect complement to a testing programme. 

“The Under 18 age group could be considered a high risk group given they are on the cusp of playing senior rugby, some seeking selection into high performance academies, senior club selection and for some possible professional contracts.

“It is important that these players are provided with the tools to navigate and understand their roles and responsibilities when it comes to doping control.”

Langley added: “With 24 teams and over 600 Under 18 players present at this year’s FIRA-AER U18 Championship and staying in the same hotel, this seemed an ideal anti-doping educational opportunity to be proactive with players and team management in keeping rugby clean.

“We will be conducting an evaluation of the programme with the team managers but the initial response has been positive. Managers have informed me that it was a very important tool in creating awareness of the issues that could arise and where information is accessible if questions arise.

“We even saw interest from the referees who came on the programme. Many of them feel they can then use their knowledge to create this awareness when they interact with players in their clubs or unions.”

The 24 teams who went through the programme were: Belgium, Czech Republic, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and Wales.

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