Swiss lab to handle drug tests at World Cup
JOHANNESBURG -- FIFA will use a laboratory in Switzerland to handle drug testing during the 2014 World Cup because the facility in Brazil will not be ready.
The World Anti-Doping Agency revoked the accreditation of the current Brazil lab in August. A new one is being set up in Rio de Janeiro, though not in time for the start of soccer's showcase event in June.
The sport's governing body used the Swiss lab during the Confederations Cup this year to analyze the biological profile of players.
FIFA said it is "taking the necessary logistical steps" for the blood and urine samples to be sent to the Lausanne lab.
FIFA will also become one of the first sports federations to implement a new steroid testing protocol for urine samples. It will form a second part to the athlete biological passport, which currently just profiles a person's blood history.
WADA President John Fahey played down the problem of using another lab during the World Cup. He cited as an example track and field's governing body, which transported 40 samples from runners in a remote region in Kenya to Lausanne.
"FIFA, as an event organizer, will make arrangements to ensure their anti-doping program is still effective," Fahey said at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in South Africa. "Clearly that will involve another laboratory. There is a transportation challenge there but it's not an insurmountable challenge. You can move samples these days with aircraft and regular fights to other laboratories."
Brazil's anti-doping authority says it expects FIFA to conduct about 900 doping tests before and during the World Cup.
The Rio lab that Brazil was expecting to use was stripped of its accreditation in August by WADA, citing its "repeated failures."
Fahey warned that despite time constraints, the new lab would not be fast-tracked for the 2016 Rio Olympics and had to be equipped and staffed properly before it could gain accreditation.
"I don't think it's going to happen in a hurry," he said. "We will do our best to ensure it happens as soon as is possible but without compromising the quality that is essential ... for the work the laboratories must do."
AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed from Sao Paulo.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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