Rugby League


17 May 2024

RFL support UKAD’s Clean Sport Week

RFL support UKAD’s Clean Sport Week

The RFL have underlined their support for Clean Sport Week and the refreshed Strategic Plan which has been published by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD).

The strategic refresh recalibrates UKAD’s existing strategy, which now extends until the end of 2026. 

Key new additions to the strategy include a clear focus on putting the athlete voice first, strengthening the organisation’s powers and capabilities to identify and act on wrongdoing, and to actively support and advise on wider sport integrity issues.

The RFL is one of 163 National Governing Bodies included in UKAD’s Assurance Framework, which sets out the requirements for NGBs to fulfil their anti-doping role.

The RFL was also consulted ahead of the Strategic Refresh, which features four main objectives:

  • Build a clean sport environment in the UK and for UK athletes worldwide
  • Develop and deploy detection and deterrence methods to uphold a level playing field
  • Improve the way we regulate
  • Leverage research and analytics to enhance our insight on the threats to clean sport

Chair of UKAD’s Board, Trevor Pearce, said: “Since the launch of UKAD’s Strategic Plan 2021-25, the organisation has made significant progress towards its goals. However, the threats to clean sport have evolved since it produced its original Strategic Plan and this refresh will help strengthen UKAD’s efforts to keep sport clean.

“This new document sets out a pathway to 2026, putting athletes at the forefront of all work. With huge sporting events covered by the span of this refresh, including the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games, UKAD’s work has never been more important.

“This Strategic Refresh is ambitious, but with UKAD’s knowledgeable and passionate workforce, Athlete Commission, Innovation Commission, and with ongoing collaborations and partnerships, UKAD will continue to make great strides in creating a culture of clean sport in the UK.”

Across the next two years, in addition to delivering to its revised plans, UKAD will also be pulling together another multi-year strategy.

Tony Sutton, the RFL’s Chief Executive, said:

“This has been an important week in Rugby League for many reasons, culminating in the Semi Finals of our three Betfred Challenge Cups – Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair.

“The timing of Clean Sport Week has therefore been especially appropriate, as we celebrate the excellence and commitment of our leading players, the sacrifices they make, and the importance for all in Rugby League to make the right choices, and to respect their bodies, the sport and the level playing field.

“We have also been working with the sport’s independent charity Rugby League Cares to support Mental Health Awareness Week – again such an important initiative.

“The RFL value our relationship with UKAD, and welcome the refreshed Strategic Plan until 2026.” 

Dr Dane Vishnubala, the RFL’s Chief Medical Officer, added: "UKAD'S strategic refresh is a welcome document to support us all to protect our sport and competitions. Of note, listening to the athlete voice is an important point highlighted and one we want to prioritise. We want to listen and provide support to clubs. Secondly we want to engage with our medical community working in the game including doctors, physiotherapists and sports therapists to again support them through education and discussion to keep the sport clean."