The World Anti-Doping Agency has suspended the accreditation of the Athletes’ Anti-Doping Laboratory in Almaty in Kazakhstan for a period of four months, it was announced today.
The suspension came into effect on Friday (June 24) and means the facility is prohibited from "carrying out all anti-doping analyses on urine and blood samples".
Samples collected and stored will now have to be transported to another WADA-accredited Laboratory.
If the issues which led to the temporary ban are rectified before the end of the four-month period, the Laboratory in the Kazakh city is able to apply to the WADA Executive Committee for early reinstatement.
The exact reason for WADA's decision has not been given.
"During the period of suspension, samples are required to be transported securely to another WADA-accredited laboratory, ensuring that athletes can have full confidence in continued high quality sample analysis and the wider anti-doping system," a statement from WADA read.
"The decision to suspend the laboratory is a direct result of the more stringent quality assessment procedures enacted by WADA to ensure laboratories maintain the highest standards."
The news comes after WADA suspended the accreditation of the Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory in Rio de Janeiro just 42 days before the start of this year's Olympic Games as a result of procedural errors.
It raises the possibility that samples collected during Rio 2016 will have to be shipped off and tested and analysed elsewhere at a cost of as much as $250,000 (£182,000/€224,000).
This was the case ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where samples were analysed over 9,000 kilometres away in Lausanne in Switzerland.
The Laboratory in Almaty is the sixth facility to have its accreditation suspended along with Bloemfontein,Beijing, Lisbon, Madrid and Rio, while Moscow's has been revoked.
They had initially suspended the facility in the Russian capital on November 10, following the WADA Independent Commission reports which revealed evidence of widespread state-supported doping in Russian athletics.
Cover-ups and the destruction of samples were also revealed, and suspending the laboratory, which is at the centre of the scandal, was a key recommendation.
Its accreditation was completely revoked but WADA President Sir Craig Reedie then exclusively revealed to insidethegames last month that it had been partly re-accredited to enable it to resume analysis of blood samples.