The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended the credentials of a testing laboratory in Rio de Janeiro for failing to comply with international standards, just over a month before the city hosts the Olympic Games.
Although the suspension adds to embarrassments for Brazil in the run-up to the Olympics, it is unlikely to affect the Games since the agency has arranged testing elsewhere, as it did when the same Rio lab lost its credentials before the 2014 World Cup.
The lab at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro said on Friday (June 24) that its operations should return to normal in July after a technical visit from WADA, ahead of the start of the Games on Aug. 5.
Rio 2016 Spokesman, Mario Andrada said the event would remain clean.
“Our commitment with the clean Games remains the same, we will have clean Games, there is zero tolerance against doping. We are just waiting for the WADA instructions on how we should proceed with the testing for the Rio 2016 Games. We all know the lab that has been suspended is a federal institution, and that WADA has the right to decide how the testing should be done so we are waiting for instructions, bearing in mind that there is no compromise with testing and that Rio 2016 will be clean games,” said Andrada on Friday.
Technical errors leading to false positives were likely the cause of the suspension, a source familiar with the decision said, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
With an eye on the Olympics, Brazil invested 188 million Reais ($56 million) in new installations and equipment for the lab, which was recertified by WADA last year. The government also rushed through an executive order in March updating Brazil’s doping laws to comply with international standards.
Doping is high on the agenda ahead of the Rio Games, the first Olympics to be held in South America, after the Russian team was suspended from athletics events because of doping allegations in track and field.