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WADA provisionally suspends approved status of Moscow laboratory

The Moscow Laboratory was prohibited from carrying out any work related to the analysis of blood samples in connection with the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program

MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has provisionally suspended the WADA-approved status of the National Anti-Doping Laboratory of Moscow (Moscow Laboratory), WADA press service said on Wednesday.

This provisional suspension prohibits the Moscow Laboratory from carrying out any work related to the analysis of blood samples in connection with the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program.

The suspension was issued in line with WADA Laboratory Expert Group (LabEG) recommendation to the organization’s president Witold Banka.

"During the period of suspension, all ABP samples collected prior to the date of the provisional suspension may be analyzed by the Moscow Laboratory and the laboratory will need to contact all relevant Testing Authorities to determine whether any stored ABP samples need to be transported to a WADA-accredited or ABP-approved laboratory for further analysis," WADA said.

The suspension will remain in place pending disciplinary proceedings to be carried out by an independent Disciplinary Committee.

RUSADA response

Meanwhile, RUSADA Deputy Director General Margarita Pakhnotskaya said Wednesday’s move would incur additional financial losses for the Russian anti-doping watchdog.

"WADA’s decision to completely close the Moscow lab for testing will create additional financial burden for RUSADA. From now on, we will be forced to send blood samples for testing to foreign labs. This entails noticeable expenditures, especially considering that the storage period for such samples is way shorter than that of urine samples," she said.

Russian doping controversy

According to the WADA statement, Wednesday’s step was taken in light of the WADA Executive Committee (ExCo) decision made on December 9. On that day, the committee unilaterally voted to strip Russian anti-doping body RUSADA of its compliance status and impose sanctions on the Russian sports after the discovery of manipulations with Moscow data laboratory doping samples containing tests taken by athletes in 2012-2015. According to the sanctions adopted, Russia loses the right to host major sporting events or bid to hold them for four years, while Russian athletes are deprived of opportunity to compete at world championships, Olympics and Paralympics representing Russia. In late December, RUSADA disagreed with WADA’s decision saying that it would be appealed at CAS.

Earlier, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the Paralympic Committee (RPC), as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the European Olympic Committees (EOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and a number of national sporting federations joined the appeal as third parties by submitting relevant notices. They entered the process using their right to do so as organizations directly affected by the WADA decision. Russian athletes and federations also joined the CAS hearing for this reason.