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Exclusive: Blatter plans joint approach to Brazil with IOC over drug testing lab

Doping controlBy David Owen
October 7 - FIFA President Joseph Blatter is aiming to join forces with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to urge the Brazilian Government to do its utmost to ensure the country's new doping control facility is operational, and duly accredited, before next year's World Cup, insideworldfootball has learnt.

Meeting last week in Zurich, FIFA's executive committee decided that Blatter should contact the IOC to determine whether a joint approach was feasible, before making FIFA's feelings known to Brazilian authorities.

This was after the world governing body's medical committee came to the view that FIFA would have little option but to send World Cup samples to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) - accredited laboratory in Lausanne if no Brazilian facility was available - a potentially costly and cumbersome exercise.

This is now Plan B if Blatter's overture fails to jolt the Brazilians sufficiently into action.

It was announced in March that the "new home" of the so-called Ladetec doping control and technological development support laboratory had started taking shape, with construction expected to be completed "during the first half of 2014".

This building, part of a complex of new venues belonging to the federal university of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), is being funded by the Brazilian Sports Ministry, which was said to have transferred 13.5 million Brazilian reals - about $7 million - for this purpose in 2012.

Some 7,000 tests are expected to be conducted there during the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

FIFA's current predicament arises because WADA has revoked the accreditation held by the present UFRJ facility.

This decision is understood to have been taken after the lab failed a 'blind' quality assessment test.

While there looks to be plenty of time for Ladetec to win back its WADA credential before the Olympics arrives in Brazil in 2016, this is most certainly not the case with the World Cup, which kicks off in Sao Paulo on June 12 - just eight months from now.

So FIFA may yet need to go the Lausanne route irrespective of the reaction to Blatter's new initiative.

FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke returns to Brazil this week for engagements in Porto Alegre, Cuiabá and Rio.

He is likely to face questions on FIFA's drug testing plans, and other issues confronting the tournament, at a media conference on Thursday.

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