Brazil’s failure to have an accredited laboratory ready in time for soccer’s World Cup means a player suspected of doping may be able to continue competing because testing won’t be done before his next game, according to the head of FIFA’s medical committee.
Collecting samples and sending them by plane to Switzerland also substantially increases costs for World Cup organizers, said Michel D’Hooghe, a 26-year veteran of Zurich-based FIFA’s executive board. The Rio de Janeiro laboratory that was supposed to handle tests had its license revoked by the World Anti-Doping Agency last year.
“Until now, we always had a chance before the next game,” D’Hooghe, 68, a sports medicine physician from Belgium, said in a telephone interview. “That means if a player fails the test, we suspend him. We will manage to do it before most games, but I’m not sure we will do it in all conditions.”
Rio de Janeiro’s LAB DOP-LADETEC/IQ-UFRJ Doping Control Laboratory, known as LADETEC, failed blind tests conducted by WADA, and a new facility being built for the 2016 Olympic Games isn’t ready. D’Hooghe said transporting the samples in a temperature-controlled environment will “certainly cost a lot of money,” without providing exact details.
The event runs from June 12-July 13.
FIFA and WADA announced in November that the lab in Lausanne would handle blood and urine tests for the World Cup.
“WADA has no concerns with regard to the plans put in place by FIFA for the 2014 World Cup anti-doping program, which will be the most extensive doping control program ever conducted at a World Cup,” WADA spokesman Ben Nichols said in an e-mail.
FIFA will test everyone on the 23-player rosters of the 32 competing teams before the tournament begins and will choose two players from each side at random following each of the tournament’s 64 games. There will be close to 1,000 doping controls related to the World Cup and they will be cross-referenced against biological profile data FIFA has for players, D’Hooghe added.