The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said in a statement on Monday that the anti-doping laboratory of Doha has had its accreditation suspended for four months after it failed to comply with international standards.
The suspension that took effect on November 7 prohibits the laboratory from carrying out any anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples. Samples must be sent to another WADA-accredited laboratory during the ban to ensure that athletes can have full confidence in continued high quality sample analysis and the wider anti-doping system.
The decision to ban the laboratory in Qatar, host country of the 2022 soccer World Cup, was a direct result of more stringent quality assessment procedures introduced by the World Anti-Doping Agency to ensure laboratories maintain the highest standards.
The Doha laboratory has 21 days to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It is the seventh of 34 WADA-accredited labs to lose its status this year. The decision to suspend the laboratory is a direct result of the more stringent quality assessment procedures, WADA said and added it wanted to "ensure laboratories maintain the highest standards" so that that "athletes can have full confidence".
Deputy Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Robert Koehler remarked it is a matter of certain actions to be taken in order to lift the suspension. Koehler added WADA does not have any doubts about Anti-Doping Lab Qatar and also commented there is no sign of cheating or manipulation against Anti-Doping Lab Qatar, but there are measures to be implemented by the Lab in sampling and analysis in order to meet international standards. The WADA Deputy director general went on to express his confidence that officials of the Anti-Doping Lab Qatar will complete the measures and that the suspension taken by the World Anti-Doping Agency against them for four months will be lifted immediately. Website of the laboratory says it is "an independent entity reporting directly to The Emir of the State of Qatar."
The others are: Almaty, Kazakhstan; Lisbon, Portugal; Madrid; Bloemfontein, South Africa. Labs in Rio de Janeiro and Beijing were also temporarily suspended this year. Rio's anti-doping laboratory was suspended by WADA in June just six weeks before the Brazilian city hosted the Olympic Games. The Moscow Anti-doping Centre was suspended in November 2015 amid allegations of doping and it has since had its accreditation revoked.
The Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory in Rio de Janeiro was reinstated and anti-doping analysis on urine and blood samples with immediate effect were resumed in July this year. Sir Craig Reedie, Chairman of WADA’s Executive Committee, approved lifting the provisional suspension of the accreditation of the Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory (Laboratório Brasileiro de Controle de Dopagem – LBCD – LADETEC / IQ – UFRJ) [Rio Laboratory] in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in accordance with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL).
Olivier Niggli, Director General of WADA, remarked at that time that WADA is very pleased to announce that the Rio Laboratory’s accreditation has been reinstated. Niggli added all parties worked diligently to resolve the identified issue so that the Laboratory could be up and running optimally for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games that start on 5 August and also said athletes can be confident that anti-doping sample analysis has been robust throughout the Laboratory’s suspension; and, that it will also be during the Games.