Russian Doping Lab Suspended By WADA

The World Anti-Doping Agency has provisionally suspended the Moscow Anti-Doping Center. The drug-testing lab faces a suspension of six months unless it dramatically improves the reliability of its results by December 1.

This announcement by WADA comes just three months before the start of the Sochi Games. The World Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement that the suspension will be enacted unless the Moscow Anti-Doping Center demonstrates by December 1 that is preparing a quality management program for increasing confidence in its operations. The statement also disclosed that the center should demonstrate that the improved program has been drafted, finalized, implemented, and embedded by April 1 of 2014. This decision was taken after it was heard by WADA panel that there were serious concerns about the accuracy and reliability of testing results.

The anti-doping agency also recommended to the IOC that testing should be monitored throughout the Winter Olympics in Moscow or a satellite facility in Sochi. WADA chairman John Fahey made this decision after recommendations were made to him by its disciplinary committee. Before the decision was announced, disciplinary committee chairman and former WADA president Dick Pound remarked our expert laboratory group finally came to the conclusion that they ought to suspend the laboratory because it was not sufficiently reliable. It is rumored that there have been reports that the laboratory’s director Grigory Rodchenkov was once arrested in connection with the supply of banned substances.

The Moscow Laboratory can appeal the decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days of the WADA notification.

WADA said it strongly suggests to the International Olympic Committee to consider appropriate action to ensure the complete integrity of all analysis at the laboratory both in Moscow and the satellite facility at the Sochi Games. Meanwhile, the IOC has lent its support to the Russian center and said it is confident that all the necessary measures will be taken and the Sochi lab will be fully functioning during the Games. An IOC statement added the integrity of the Games-time testing program will remain unaffected by these developments, indeed it will be strengthened.

In August this year, the Moscow lab handled drug tests for the world track and field championships and was expected to do the same for the Moscow lab handled drug tests for the world track and field championships. In case the Moscow lab have its WADA accreditation revoked, the Sochi facility would likely not be able to operate and the local organizers under the host city agreement would have to borne the cost of transferring samples to another lab.

In Winter Olympics history, Sochi will be the most drug-tested games. There would be a total of 2,453 tests before and during the games, including 1,269 pre-competition tests, according to new IOC President Thomas Bach who added the International Olympic Committee will spend $1 million on pre-competition testing for Sochi and many millions on testing throughout the event.

A few months back, the Rio de Janeiro lab was stripped of its WADA accreditation ahead of next year’s football World Cup and samples will be flown to world governing body FIFA’s headquarters in Switzerland during the tournament.

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