Montreal: On Thursday, during an extraordinary meeting held online, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Executive Committee (ExCo) endorsed a WADA Disciplinary Committee recommendation to revoke the accreditation of the Doping Control Laboratory of Athens, Greece (Athens Laboratory) due to non-compliances with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) and its related Technical Documents and Technical Letters.
The Athens Laboratory, which was already suspended, was immediately notified of the ExCo decision; and, as such, remains ineligible to analyze doping control samples for Anti-Doping Organizations that are compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code).
Pursuant to Article 13.7 of the Code, the Laboratory may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days of its receipt of the decision.
The Athens Laboratory was also informed that if the Laboratory wished to seek WADA accreditation in the future, it may request that WADA expedite the re-accreditation procedure, which shall be approved by the WADA ExCo, in accordance with Article 184.108.40.206 of the ISL.
On 1 October 2019, WADA suspended the Athens Laboratory for a period of six months. This suspension was imposed due to non-conformities with the ISL as identified during a WADA site visit, including in relation to the lack of institutional support and investment for the laboratory. The suspension was subsequently extended to twelve months. An extraordinary further extension of six months was granted as it was determined that the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted the Laboratory’s ability to address the non-compliances identified and to regain its accreditation.
During the extended suspension period, the Laboratory provided multiple updates on its situation, and a remote WADA assessment was conducted of the Laboratory prior to the end of the suspension period. WADA’s Laboratory Expert Group (LabEG) reviewed the findings of the assessment and concluded that the Laboratory had not satisfactorily addressed the identified non-compliances with the ISL and could not operate at the level expected of a WADA-accredited Laboratory. WADA, therefore, instituted disciplinary proceedings to revoke the Athens Laboratory’s accreditation, as per the ISL.
Consequently, a Disciplinary Committee was established in accordance with the ISL. Following formal disciplinary proceedings, during which the Athens Laboratory was afforded opportunities to make written representations, the Disciplinary Committee issued its reasoned recommendation to the ExCo in which it concluded that the Laboratory’s accreditation should be revoked. It is this recommendation that was approved by the ExCo on 19 August.
WADA is responsible for accrediting and re-accrediting anti-doping laboratories, thereby ensuring that they maintain the highest quality standards. When a laboratory does not meet ISL requirements, WADA may decide to suspend or revoke the laboratory’s accreditation. This monitoring role is conducted in conjunction with ISO/IEC 17025 assessment by independent national accreditation bodies that are full members of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).
As stipulated within the ISL, this decision is hereby communicated to all relevant national public authorities; national accreditation bodies; National Anti-Doping Organizations; National Olympic Committees; International Federations and the International Olympic Committee.
The full list of accredited laboratories can be found on WADA’s website.