Olympic drug-test lab gets go-ahead with presidential decree

AP News
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Posted: Mar 17, 2016 2:30 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil enacted new drug-testing legislation Thursday to fall into line with rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency, beating the deadline by one day and avoiding the decertification of Rio de Janeiro's drug-testing lab for the Olympics in August.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed an executive decree to bring the country into conformity with international doping rules, a move that was confirmed in the government's official gazette.

The new rules will create a single national tribunal for doping cases across all sports, and should speed up hearings.

"This Brazilian anti-doping code sets the standards for the fight against doping in Brazilian sport, contributing to its harmonization with the world (standard)," the executive decree said.

Brazil's national anti-doping agency was placed on a "watch list" by WADA in November, and it had until Friday to meet the WADA guidelines or face being declared non-compliant with the global code.

Had Brazil been found non-compliant, Rio's doping lab would have lost its accreditation. That would mean thousands of doping samples during the Olympics would have to be sent outside Brazil for testing, posing major financial and logistical issues.

That happened in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when the lab was suspended, which forced samples to be shipped to Lausanne, Switzerland, for testing.

The new regulations will contribute "to efforts to eradicate doping in sports and in Brazil," the executive decree said.

The lab has been a major headache for Rio organizers, who are also faced with a mountain of problems that include the mosquito-borne Zika virus, cuts of $500 million to balance a $2 billion operating budget, and severe water pollution in venues for sailing, rowing and canoeing.

Brazil is also engulfed in political chaos with President Dilma Rousseff facing impeachment as the country battles the deepest recession since the 1930s.

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Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP