November 18 - Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko today promised that measures demanded to ensure Moscow's anti-doping laboratory is not suspended on the eve of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics will be carried out.
The laboratory has been given until December 1 to bring itself up to standard by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) or Russia will suffer the embarrassment of having its accreditation temporarily withdrawn.
WADA had opened disciplinary proceedings against the laboratory in the Russian capital because of questions over the quality of their tests and given them a deadline to improve the reliability of their results.
They have been ordered to bring in independent "quality management" experts to "allow everyone to be confident of the accuracy and reliability of results moving forward," WADA said in a statement released today.
That deadline will directly impact drug testing during Sochi 2014, which is scheduled to take place between February 7 and 23 and where more than 2,500 drugs samples are due to be taken.
"There is no problem whatsoever.
"The WADA systematically expresses certain tips and suggestions to anti-doping centres in order to increase the effectiveness of a laboratory's work."
WADA has also imposed a second deadline of April 1, 2014, when the laboratory must ensure that programme of improvement has been "drafted, finalised, implemented and embedded."
"If the two above-mentioned conditions are fully satisfied within the specified deadlines (to which no extensions will be granted), then the above referenced six month suspension of accreditation of the Moscow laboratory shall never come into effect," the WADA statement said.
But WADA have issued a thinly-veiled threat to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that they must remain vigilant if the Moscow laboratory does undertake analysis of samples during Sochi 2014.
"While WADA is not the responsible medical authority during the period of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, WADA strongly suggests that the IOC consider appropriate action (including the appointment of necessary experts) to ensure the complete integrity of all analysis performed by the Moscow Laboratory operating in Moscow and/or in the satellite facility in Sochi," WADA warn in the statement.
Last December the sister of the director of the Moscow laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, was convicted for buying and possessing banned drugs, with the intention of supplying them to athletes.
He was himself questioned over the affair but was never charged and was allowed to return to his position in charge of the laboratory, whose full title is The Russian Federal State Unitary Enterprise Anti-Doping Centre, following two months in hospital after reportedly suffering a breakdown.
There have also been allegations from Russian coaches that they were forced to pay up 50,000 roubles (£950/$1,500/€1,130) to be part of a doping programme and that their samples were substituted at the laboratory in Moscow for clean ones to ensure they avoided detection.
Lada Chernova, who was banned for life on the eve of Beijing 2008, earlier this year had her ban overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) allegedly because of the mistakes made by the laboratory in Moscow that included false paperwork.
If Moscow loses its accreditation, it would not be able to test athletes' urine and blood samples for banned substances in the Winter Olympics or Paralympics, due to take place between March 7 and 16 and where more than 600 samples are due to be taken.
That would follow WADA's revocation of the Rio de Janeiro laboratory's rights to test in August, which will force organisers to fly samples to Lausanne during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Rio is also host city for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, which means the host cities of both upcoming Games will potentially have lost testing accreditation -- an embarrassment for the organising countries.
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November 2013: Moscow anti-doping laboratory facing suspension on eve of Sochi 2014