FIFA Says World Cup Drug Testing Facility Closing Is a Problem

Soccer’s governing body FIFA said it’s concerned about drug testing at next year’s World Cup after the World Anti-Doping Agency revoked the accreditation of the Brazilian laboratory chosen to carry out the analysis.

Rio de Janeiro’s LAB DOP-LADETEC/IQ-UFRJ Doping Control Laboratory, known as LADETEC, will from Sept. 25 no longer be authorized to carry out any anti-doping activities for WADA, the agency said Aug. 27. Brazil has no other accredited facility.

“This is a problem,” Michel D’Hooghe, the head of FIFA’s medical committee, said in an interview. “We look now what WADA will decide. I think there are other possibilities, perhaps Sao Paulo or perhaps an adaptation of the lab in Rio but for the moment, yes, this is a problem for us.”

WADA didn’t disclose why the lab’s accreditation was revoked, other than saying it didn’t meet the requirements of the International Standard for Laboratories. It’s the second time that LADETEC has fallen below those standards, according to WADA, and the lab was suspended for nine months in January 2012 before being reinstated.

The closing of the drug-testing laboratory is the latest problem for organizers of the World Cup, which is scheduled for June 12-July 13, 2014.

Several of the 12 stadiums being built or modified for the 32-team competition have faced delays and cost overruns, while June’s Confederations Cup, a warm-up tournament for the World Cup, was marred by street protests. Demonstrators complained about a range issues, including the amount of public money being spent on staging soccer’s four-yearly championship.

Solution Sought

D’Hooghe said FIFA will know more about the drug-testing situation when its executive board meets in October.

“I’m never shocked after 42 years in football,” he said. “I was a little bit disappointed, but I think you can find a solution.”

Montreal-based WADA’s decision came three weeks after it announced the lab’s accreditation was suspended. WADA’s executive committee made the decision to revoke the accreditation after a review by its disciplinary panel.

LADETEC can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It can also choose to reapply for accreditation through a fast-track process from the executive committee.

The only remaining South American WADA-accredited lab for doping control analysis is based in Bogota. There are 32 worldwide, excluding LADETEC.

According to D’Hooge, testing samples in Colombia is not an option.

“I think we have to find a solution in Brazil,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in Monaco at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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