The World Anti-Doping Agency on Friday revoked the accreditation of the Moscow Antidoping Center, as Russia continues to grapple with the scandal that could see its athletes barred from the Rio Olympics.
The laboratory had been suspended on November 10 as recommended in the WADA independent commission report that laid bare evidence of state-sponsored doping and corruption in sport in the country.
The report found that laboratory director Grigori Rodchenkov had ordered close to 1,500 samples to be destroyed, prompting his resignation.
A statement on Friday said the lab’s accreditation was revoked “due to non-compliance with the International Standard for Laboratories and the related Technical Documents.”
Since it’s suspension in November, the lab has been prohibited from carrying out any WADA-related anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples.
“The revocation, which has been accepted by the Laboratory, will enter into force immediately and means that the Laboratory will continue to be prevented from carrying out the testing of doping control samples on behalf of WADA or any testing authority,” WADA said.
“The decision was taken by WADA’s Executive Committee following a thorough review of the status of the Laboratory by an independent WADA appointed Disciplinary Panel.”
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko voiced optimism that the move was a first step toward re-accreditation of the lab.
“I wished this decision to be taken a couple of months ago,” TASS agency quoted Mutko as saying.
“It’s a wise decision and I hope the process of (Moscow’s) laboratory’s re-accreditation will now start promptly.
“When the lab’s work is suspended you just wait for another six months, while its re-accreditation is a kind of a guarantee. What would you choose?” Mutko said.
WADA spokesman Ben Nichols said re-accreditation might not be a quick process.
“It takes as long as it needs to take,” Nichols told AFP.
“The next goal is to bring the laboratory back up to standard. We’ll have to wait and see what the time frame will be.”
In the meantime, the Russian Athletics Federation remains under scrutiny, with new head Dmitry Shlyakhtin working to overturn a ban by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) over doping that could see Russian track and field stars sidelined from the Rio de Janeiro Games in August.
The WADA independent commission report published in November alleged that senior Russian federation officials enabled the use of performance-enhancing drugs and covered up doping violations, among other damning accusations.
WADA last month said it would launch an inquiry into allegations of doping in Russian swimming as well, after a report in The Times claimed that Sergei Portugalov, the doctor said to be the mastermind behind doping in Russian athletics, had pushed swimmers on Russia’s national team to take performance-enhancing drugs. – Agence France-Presse