The figures include the 1,016 tests conducted as part of the pre-Games testing programme for Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic competitors – the most comprehensive pre-Games programme ever conducted in the UK. There were no positive findings throughout this programme.

In total, 49 sports have been covered by the testing programme over the course of the year. The governing bodies receiving the most tests were: Football Association (1,516), UK Athletics (498), Rugby Football Union (340), British Swimming (338) and Rugby Football League (304).

In line with the guidelines set out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), there has been a shift towards more no notice, out-of-competition tests, either at training sessions or other venues. These made up 50.6% of the testing programme, compared with 42.7% in 2003/04.

With information on positive findings not being released until the full disciplinary process is complete, it is not yet possible to produce a final total of findings for the year as some cases, mainly from the last quarter (January-March 2005) remain open. It does appear, however, that the percentage of findings will be lower than the worldwide average of 1.72% unveiled last week by WADA.

"The ratio of positive findings to the number of tests conducted continues to fall as it has done over the past three years," said John Scott, Director of Drug-Free Sport at UK Sport. "This is encouraging, particularly in a year when such a comprehensive testing programme has been in place in our priority sports. Full details of all findings will of course be made public through our Drug Results Database as and when the cases are closed by the governing bodies concerned. Under the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code, this will include the names of the competitors."

Approximately 7,000 tests are expected to be conducted in 2005/06 as UK Sport further increases its commitment to drug-free sport. This will include large-scale pre-Games testing programmes for both the Winter Olympics in Turin and the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. However, Scott is keen to point out that testing is not the only weapon at UK Sport’s disposal in the fight against doping in sport.

"Testing is clearly a powerful deterrent and detection tool for us, but we feel education has an equally, if not more important, role to play," he said. "Later this month we are launching a major new anti-doping education campaign, through which we aim to influence the attitudes and opinions towards doping of both current and future sportsmen and women. We hope this will have a long-term impact on British competitors, and help British sport maintain its standing of integrity and fairness on the world stage."