Exclusive: FIFA stocks up on anti-doping kits after Berlinger announces withdrawal

By David Owen

April 6 – FIFA has secured adequate supplies of anti-doping sample collection kits for this summer’s World Cup in Russia, in spite of the company which makes them announcing plans to exit the business.

Berlinger, the market leader, resolved last month that it would cease production of its doping control kits “in the medium term”, while pledging to continue to supply present customers for a “transitional period”.

FIFA has now told Insideworldfootball that it will be able to make use of pre-existing Berlinger stock until the end of this year.

This ought to ensure that anti-doping operations at Russia 2018 will be conducted as planned. Indeed, Michel D’Hooghe, chairman of FIFA’s medical committee, says that out-of-competition testing for the tournament has started already. According to D’Hooghe, FIFA has “never had a problem with Berlinger bottles”.

Berlinger announced its intention to withdraw from the business last month, following what it described as “cases of breakages of the glass bottles used at a small number of laboratories and in materials tests conducted by the bottle supplier and the EMPA Swiss federal materials testing institute.”

The company said that “increasingly institutionalized forms of doping malpractice” had “steadily raised and changed the demands on these anti-doping kits over the years”.

According to chairwoman Andrea Berlinger, these developments “are not only damaging to sport: they have become increasingly incompatible with our corporate values and core competencies.” In view of this, Berlinger had taken “the strategic decision to make an orderly withdrawal from this business segment over the next few months.”

As previously disclosed, FIFA plans to test World Cup anti-doping samples at a laboratory in the Olympic capital of Lausanne.

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