Blood testing is to be introduced for GAA players from January 1st 2016.
The move comes as part of the 2016 Anti-Doping programme which is being rolled out by Sport Ireland.
Blood testing will be an addition anti-doping method used alongside the urine testing which is already in place. A statement released by the GAA says blood testing is being introduced to, “further assist in providing a level playing field for all players and provide an additional means for them to continue to demonstrate they are competing cleanly.”
Blood testing has been prevalent in a number of sports and chairman of the Medical, Scientific and Welfare committee Ger Ryan believes it was inevitable it would eventually be introduced into the GAA, he said: “The GAA has worked closely with Sport Ireland on this and the programme that will be rolled out - while meeting with Sport Ireland’s requirements in this regard - has been designed taking careful consideration of the unique circumstances of our amateur players, their support personnel and our team and training structures.”
The introduction of blood testing is designed to ensure a level playing field for all GAA players, Ryan said: “The GAA had formulated a new four year Anti-Doping Education Strategy for all levels of the Association to complement its existing initiatives, and that the main focus of this in 2016 would be on senior intercounty panels and support personnel.”
Any GAA players with a phobia of needles are being advised to inform their team doctor at the start of the season so the Doping Control Officer and Blood Collection Officer can be informed if they are selected for a test.