28 April 2015

FINA World Championships samples to be analysed in Moscow

The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) today announced that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) would supervise all doping controls during this year’s FINA World Championships in Kazan, and samples will be analysed at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Moscow. FINA has faced criticism for allowing Russia to host the Championships following the investigation into alleged systematic Russian doping by Hajo Seppelt for German TV station ARD, which alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin had signed an order refusing to allow doping samples to be sent out of Russia unless they are opened at the border.

The Sports Integrity Initiative has repeatedly asked FINA whether it will be sending samples across the border, but did not receive a reply. FINA normally tests samples in partnership with Swedish company ITDM, and had previously responded to concerns expressed by the World Swimming Coaches Association’s (WSCA) Executive Director, John Leonard, by assuring that agreements were in place for the export of samples from Russia. Today’s u-turn appears to confirm that an order could exist preventing doping samples taken in Russia from crossing the border without first being opened.

Following the allegations in the ARD documentary, the WSCA in March threatened to begin public discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to replace FINA, after it ignored a request for an independent review from Australian swimming coach Bill Sweetenham. FINA has yet to respond to the request. The FINA World Championships Kazan takes place from 24 July util 9 August.

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