The status of the Moscow Laboratory has been provisionally suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency ©Getty Images

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has provisionally suspended the Moscow Laboratory from carrying out its only remaining test after an investigation found data from the facility had been manipulated.

In a statement, WADA revealed the status of the Laboratory at the heart of the Russian doping scandal would remain suspended "pending disciplinary proceedings".

The accreditation of the Moscow Laboratory had been revoked when the allegations of state-sponsored doping emerged in November 2015, but it was allowed to resume analysis of blood samples by WADA the following May.

WADA said this was because it is "practically impossible for laboratories to interfere with the blood variables of samples due to the nature of the analytical equipment and the athlete biological passport (ABP) principles in place".

This status has now been suspended after WADA found data from the Laboratory had been tampered with in an attempt to cover-up positive cases by Russian athletes and to blame witnesses for the manipulation.

The Laboratory is able to analyse blood samples it received before the provisional suspension, a decision agreed by new WADA President Witold Bańka, took effect.

It is the first major decision made by the global anti-doping watchdog since Bańka succeeded Sir Craig Reedie as President on January 1.

"The Laboratory will need to contact all relevant testing authorities to determine whether any stored ABP samples need to be transported to a WADA-accredited or ABP-approved laboratory for further analysis," WADA added in a statement.

The decision is the first major call made by WADA under new President Witold Bańka ©Getty Images
The decision is the first major call made by WADA under new President Witold Bańka ©Getty Images

Russia tampering with the Moscow Laboratory data - including deletions in the days before it was handed over to WADA - prompted WADA to impose a four-year period of sanctions on the country.

The range of punishments includes a ban on the Russian flag from major events, such as this year's Olympic Games, while the nation is also set to be barred from staging global competitions.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency has appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and the sanctions cannot be implemented until they make a final ruling.

insidethegames understands a hearing in the protracted Russian doping case is not expected to take place until May at the earliest, raising the possibility that the issue overshadows a third consecutive Olympic Games.

The Russian appeal will be among the main topics discussed when the WADA Executive Committee meets at Olympic House in Lausanne tomorrow.

Allegations against the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) made in a documentary by German television station ARD are also on the agenda.

The programme included claims of "missing millions" in Swiss bank accounts that were accessible only to IWF President Tamás Aján, of corruption in anti-doping procedures, and doping by 13-year-old girls in Thailand.

In response to the documentary, WADA said its intelligence and investigations department would investigate potential breaches of the World Anti-Doping Code.

WADA also promised it would follow-up on accusations regarding doping of weightlifters in Thailand, which it described as being of "great concern".

The appointment of chairpersons of WADA's various Standing Committees is also expected to be discussed during tomorrow's meeting.