WADA hints at LADETEC reprieve to give 'swift solution' for 2014

drug testingBy David Owen
October 9 – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has hinted there may yet be time for the Rio de Janeiro doping control laboratory to win back its accreditation in time for it to handle samples collected at next year's FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

In an update released after it emerged that FIFA President Joseph Blatter was planning to enlist the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to step up pressure on the issue, David Howman, WADA's director general, said the Montreal-based body was aware of "the importance of seeking a swift solution" for FIFA's testing programme ahead of next year's tournament.

This, he emphasised, would be "one of the biggest sporting events in Brazil's history".

FIFA's predicament has arisen because of WADA's recent decision to revoke the accreditation held by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) doping control laboratory, also known as LADETEC.

This is understood to have been after the facility failed a "blind" quality assessment test.

FIFA's medical committee concluded last week that football's governing body would have little option but to send World Cup samples across the Atlantic to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne if no Brazilian facility were available.

This, however, would be a potentially costly and cumbersome exercise - as well as an intense embarrassment for Brazilian authorities keen to use the World Cup and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to underline Brazil's emergence as a sophisticated, modern nation to a captive global audience.

Howman went on: "We place great importance on collaborating with our stakeholders in order to find the best possible solutions that allow robust and effective anti-doping programmes to prosper.

"This will continue in the coming weeks and months, as we work with FIFA to put in place the necessary anti-doping measures."

The Brazilian sports ministry is funding a new $7 million home for LADETEC as part of a complex of new UFRJ venues.

It was stated in March that construction was expected to be completed during the first half of 2014.

The World Cup is scheduled to kick off in Sao Paulo on June 12.

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