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World Rugby team up with AFLD for a fair Rugby World Cup 2023

World Rugby and AFLD, the French National Anti-Doping Organisation, have announced details of the anti-doping testing programme for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France, supporting a fair contest.

Rugby World Cup 2023 will be rugby’s greatest celebration of togetherness in the 200th anniversary of the sport, and AFLD will provide independent sample collection for the tournament as the official Sample Collection Agency.

AFLD will work in partnership with World Rugby to provide qualified and experienced sample collection personnel for the witnessing and processing of blood and urine samples collected throughout the tournament in and out of competition.Working regularly on major sporting events with international federations such as UEFA, FIFA, World Athletics and UCI and World Rugby, AFLD brings a wealth of experience and expertise to complement World Rugby’s robust anti-doping testing programme, an approach based on the latest science and intelligence available that includes in and out of competition testing.Within the programme, AFLD will be responsible for the collection of all blood and urine samples and their delivery to Laboratoire AntiDopage Français (LADF), the WADA accredited laboratory in Paris for analysis. All participating teams are regularly tested as part of World Rugby’s global and ongoing anti-doping programme and AFLD’s partnership will reinforce it for the duration of Rugby World Cup 2023.

Promoting a level playing field for all, World Rugby in collaboration with the France 2023 organising committee will implement a specific awareness campaign during the tournament on 23-24 September, 2023 during the “Keep Rugby Clean” weekend.

World Rugby collected over 2500 urine and blood samples in 2022 from over 60 nationalities and is well into its 2023 testing programme which focuses heavily on the 20 teams participating in the 2023 edition of RWC, all of whom have been included in a long-term pre-tournament testing and education programme since their qualification. The testing programme uses intelligence and biological passport data to focus on doping risk, and samples are stored to allow for reanalysis as science evolves.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby World Cup 2023 will be a great celebration of what rugby does best: bringing people together around an amazing spectacle on and off the pitch. In the sport’s 200th anniversary, we will remain true to our core values of passion and integrity and the collaboration with French experts AFLD will help us keep a level playing field for all participating teams.”

AFLD Testing Director Francesca Rossi said: “It is a pleasure and an honour for AFLD to offer its expertise and human resources to carry out World Rugby’s anti-doping programme in the best possible way. We are already collaborating with World Rugby colleagues on a regular basis, including on education aspects, and we are confident that everything will be handled perfectly to achieve our joint goals.”

World Rugby Anti-Doping Director Mike Earl said: “World Rugby is delighted to continue our longstanding close relationship with AFLD by appointing them as our sample collection agency for the tournament.  AFLD have many years of experience in running anti-doping programmes in elite rugby in France and of operating major event testing programmes and we look forward to combining both organisations’ expertise to deliver a ‘best in class’ deterrent and detection programme during Rugby World Cup 2023; supporting our objectives of a clean competition for all participants.”

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AFLD provides a progress report on preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

The AFLD’s 2022 activity report emphasizes that the Agency is fully committed to preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games (OG) alongside sporting institutions, in order to ensure a comprehensive and robust anti-doping system, recently reinforced by the articles of the « loi du 19 mai » on the Olympic Games.

One year ahead of the opening of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the Agency has been working for many months to put in place a comprehensive and robust anti-doping program focused on the future French delegation and its support staff, in application of the objectives of its 2022-2024 strategic plan. AFLD can rely on the network of anti-doping referents in the 90 national federations, half of whom will have been trained by the Agency by 2022.

As the national authority responsible for anti-doping education, by 2022 the Agency has trained 89 educators from federations, players’ unions and training structures such as INSEP. They will be able to rely on an e-learning platform developed in 2022 and implemented from mid-2023. Their role will be to train athletes and training managers, in order to promote anti-doping prevention among top-level athletes, as well as schoolchildren and young club athletes.

Preparations for the 2024 Olympic Games mean that AFLD will be focusing even more on its core missions. In 2022, AFLD passed the milestone of 10,000 tests. More than three-quarters of these tests involved international or national-level athletes. These tests are no longer produced randomly, but are based entirely on criteria specific to disciplines, sports and athletes’ performances. Whereabouts rules have been extended to apply to a greater number of top-level athletes, particularly those involved in team sports.

Sustained result-management activity :

Disciplinary activity has also been stepped up: more than 80 cases were processed in 2022, nearly 60 of which resulted in sanctions. Half of these sanctions resulted from a decision by the « Commission des sanctions », the other half from an administrative conciliation agreement signed by the athlete. This procedure has reduced the average time required to process cases to around 7 months.

In terms of intelligence and investigations, the AFLD received 127 reports of anti-doping rule violations. AFLD forwarded 13 reports to the judicial or administrative authorities, or to other anti-doping organizations, and opened 11 investigations into non-analytical violations (failure to comply with whereabouts obligations, falsification, etc.). At the same time, 5 investigations were closed, leading to the first sanctions handed down at the end of this investigation procedure.


Read the summary of the 2022 activity report

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