The International Sambo Federation has published a needle policy ©FIAS

The International Sambo Federation (FIAS) Executive Committee has approved a needle policy, which will come into effect at all events.

Under the new rules, injections are prohibited without a justified medical reason.

Needles must not be used unless by "medically qualified practitioners for the clinically justified treatment of injury, illness or other medical conditions (for which a valid TUE may be required)," the FIAS policy states.

Needles can also be used by those "requiring auto-injection therapy for an established medical condition with a valid TUE [therapeutic use exemption]".

The FIAS says that it is the responsibility of each athlete and their entourage and each national sambo organisation to ensure compliance with the policy.

Whenever an athlete receives an injection during the period of a FIAS competition, an "Injection Declaration Form" must be completed and forwarded to the FIAS Therapeutic Use Exemption Commission, either through an FIAS medical delegate or representative of the FIAS administration by no later than noon the day following the injection.

Forms can also be emailed to anti-doping©

The policy is aimed at reducing the risk of athletes sliding into doping treatments ©FIAS
The policy is aimed at reducing the risk of athletes sliding into doping treatments ©FIAS

The FIAS says that failure to respect the needle policy and rules could expose the athlete, their entourage and member federations to disciplinary action, additional testing and sanctions.

The policy comes as part of the FIAS fight against the use of prohibited substances and methods in sport, with the rules based on recommendations from the International Olympic Committee and other organisations.

It is hoped the policy protects the sport from a culture of needles, with the FIAS hoping for to avoid "the trivialisation of injections and exaggerated use of pseudo-medical related products administered through injection".

The federation believes the banning of injections should have an impact on doping practices, outlining that injections of vitamins or nutritional supplements can make young athletes become accustomed to treatments which can be the start of a gradual slide into doping.

The policy can be accessed here