First Posted: 9/19/2013
(AP) With one lab suspended and its replacement unfinished, Brazil won’t be able to handle drug testing for the 2014 World Cup alone and is looking overseas for help.
The executive director of the country’s anti-doping authority told The Associated Press on Thursday the new lab in Rio de Janeiro should be running a year before the 2016 Olympics. But, Marco Aurelio Klein added, the lab won’t be ready for the World Cup next June and July.
The existing Rio lab that Brazil was expecting to use was stripped of its accreditation last month by the World Anti-Doping Agency. WADA cited “repeated failures” by the facility. Without accreditation, the lab isn’t authorized to do WADA-recognized anti-doping activities.
Klein called the lab’s loss of accreditation a “disaster.”
“Actually, it’s a problem of the new building. The new building will be completed, will be ready, at the end of April, beginning of May of 2014. Of course, it’s no time for the World Cup because you need to move the equipment, the people,” he said. “But we have no problem for the Olympic Games.”
Klein said Brazil was proposing that accredited labs elsewhere set up branches in the country to oversee the testing of World Cup blood and urine samples. Under the proposal, the testing would still be done using Brazilian equipment and facilities but would be overseen by WADA-accredited labs overseas.
He suggested the WADA lab in Lausanne, Switzerland, could oversee the testing of blood samples. Brazil could turn to labs from Europe or the United States for help with the urine sampling, he added.
“Of course, this plan must be approved by FIFA and by WADA,” he said, adding that he and the lab director met with WADA officials in Montreal last week.
In a statement to the AP, FIFA said it was looking at the possibility of testing some blood samples in Rio and sending others to Lausanne, and that this is the “most likely” solution for the World Cup.
In all, Klein said he expects FIFA will conduct about 900 tests for the World Cup, both before and during the competition.
The existing Rio lab can reapply for accreditation but that’s “not likely to occur for many months, in other words beyond the World Cup, even if fast-tracked,” WADA director general David Howman told the AP.
FIFA and WADA are discussing the World Cup testing effort, he said.
“That will obviously not include the laboratory in Rio because it hasn’t got accreditation,” Howman said. “We’re confident an outcome can be reached.”
AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar contributed to this report.