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 that Brazil’s new drug testing lab in Rio de Janeiro should be up and running a year ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games, but not for the soccer tournament two years earlier.
"It’s a problem of the new building," Marco Aurelio Klein said. "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."
The existing Rio lab that Brazil was expecting to use for soccer’s showcase competition had its accreditation revoked 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".
”But we have no problem for the Olympic Games,” he stressed.
With the existing lab suspended and the new lab unfinished, Klein said Brazil now is 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 from overseas, he said.
He suggested that the WADA-accredited 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 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 re-apply 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.”