World Anti-Doping Agency Suspends Moscow Laboratory At Center of Russian Doping Scandal

One day after a commission created by the World Anti-Doping Agency found many instances of unethical practices in Russian track and field in terms of destroying doping samples and accepting bribes to hide positive drug tests, WADA has removed the certification of the Moscow laboratory that was the primary facility that falsified reports.

The Moscow Anti-Doping Center will no longer be able to “carry out any WADA-related anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples,” WADA announced today in a statement. The center has the ability to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The center is where Grigory Rodchenkov led a cover-up that included destroying more than 1,000 urine samples last December before an official WADA visit and accepting bribes from athletes and government officials. The Independent Commission has called for Rodchenkov to be fired from his job as director of the Moscow Anti-Doping Center, but WADA’s announcement does not mention his name.

The center is where most of the drug tests from the FINA world championships last summer went, though there is no evidence that any of those samples were tampered with last August. Rodchenkov and the head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency said the December 2014 destruction of samples was an isolated incident and procedures have been followed to the letter in 2015.

Despite those claims, WADA is requiring all samples at the Moscow Anti-Doping Center to be relocated to another unnamed WADA-approved facility. Samples taken at competitions, as well as those taken during out-of-competition drug tests, are kept for many years as backups in case of appeals.

The certification for the Moscow Anti-Doping Center can be reinstated in six months, unless the WADA Executive Committee calls for a permanent removal of the center’s credentials.

The Russian track and field federation is also in danger of losing its standing, with that decision in the hands of the International Olympic Committee. It is likely that Russia’s track and field athletes will not be able to compete in the 2016 Olympics. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency is also under investigation for its role in the doping cover-up.

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Author: Jeff Commings

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Jeff Commings is the Senior Writer for SwimmingWorld.com and Swimming World Magazine. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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