Montreal: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended the main Qatar drug testing analysis laboratory in Doha for four months for failing to meet tougher guidelines.
The suspension, which began on November 7, prohibits the laboratory from any anti-doping measures, such as analysis of urine or blood samples. Those must now be transported to another WADA-accredited lab.
A WADA announcement said the lab accreditation was suspended due to stringent new quality assessment procedures.
The Qatar lab has 21 days from the serving of notice to appeal the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Details of exactly what areas the Qatar lab failed to measure up were not revealed.
Speaking on Tuesday ahead of the Association of National Olympic Committees’ general assembly in Doha, WADA deputy director general Rob Koehler said the suspension was not to do with foul play.
“It’s nothing to do with cheating, it’s a procedural issue that we have found that needs to be corrected,” he said.
“They have been suspended for four months which allows them the time to correct the procedures and get back to analysing samples.”
The lab can apply for reinstatement earlier than next March if it makes changes to conform, while it could face an extra six months suspended if it fails to improve within four months.
Another site assessment would be required to reinstate the Doha lab, but it could also uncover other areas that would also need to be addressed before reinstatement.