15th March 2018

Supply of anti-doping testing kits guaranteed for Russia 2018

The supply of anti-doping testing kits is guaranteed for the 2018 World Cup Russia, the international federation of football associations (FIFA) has confirmed, despite Berlinger’s decision to stop producing its BEREG-Kit urine sample collection bottles. ‘FIFA took note of Berlinger’s decision’, wrote a FIFA spokesperson in an email. ‘The supply of kits for FIFA anti-doping controls is guaranteed for the time being and we are currently looking for solutions for the longer term’.

As the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) remains suspended, FIFA confirmed that no Russians would be involved in the implementation of the Russia 2018 anti-doping programme, and all laboratory analysis will take place outside of Russia. ‘It is standard for all FIFA competitions that FIFA is in charge of the anti-doping programme’, continued the spokesperson. ‘For the FIFA World Cup in Russia, no Russians will be involved in the implementation of the anti-doping programme and all analysis of doping samples will be done at WADA laboratories outside Russia. A similar protocol was in place at the FIFA Confederations Cup held in Russia in 2017 and all results were negative.’

Players competing in the World Cup will know that the testers will come calling at some point, as FIFA has previously announced (see PDF below) that ‘every participating player will be tested in unannounced controls ahead of the competition’. Systematic tests will also be performed at every match, and all test results will be analysed by FIFA’s Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU).

When Part II of the Independent Person (IP) Report into allegations of Russian doping was produced by Richard McLaren for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in December 2016, WADA informed FIFA that samples from 34 footballers might have benefitted from manipulation. As stated in the above document dated 13 February, FIFA confirmed that investigations into these 34 samples are continuing today.

In November last year, FIFA told The Sports Integrity Initiative that it could not provide any details about whether it is also investigating whether a separate sample swapping system was in operation within Russian football. After an investigation for ARD last year (see video below), McLaren conceded that it appeared that a separate sample swapping system was in operation within Russian football from the one he identified in his reports for WADA.

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