FINA to move doping samples to Barcelona


Swimming's world governing body FINA will move samples taken at this year's World Championships in Russia to a lab accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Barcelona following the publication of a report that has rocked sport.

An independent commission established by the WADA this week recommended that the IAAF suspend the All-Russia Athletic Federation, while alleging "corruption and bribery" at the highest levels of international athletics.

The commission, led by former WADA president Dick Pound, was set up to investigate allegations of systemic cheating and cover-ups within Russian athletics.

WADA also confirmed the immediate suspension of accreditation for the Moscow Anti-Doping Centre.

World Swimming Coaches Association executive director John Leonard told the Daily Mail that he is "absolutely sure" Russian swimmers were also involved.

FINA on Wednesday released a statement expressing its "deep concern" at the findings of the report and said samples taken from the World Championship in Kazan earlier this year would be moved to Barcelona.

A FINA statement said: "As a pillar of the Olympic movement, FINA, as world governing body for Aquatics, undertakes a strong and robust policy in order to optimise the efficacy of our anti-doping strategies; to preserve the validity and integrity of FINA competitions; and to protect the clean athletes in the five continents.

"Concerning Russia, the nation that is mentioned in this report, it has organised, for the first time, from July 24-August 9, the 2015 edition of the FINA World Championships.

"During this event, 645 samples were collected for analysis by the FINA Doping Control Review Board, led by Prof. Andrew Pipe, as part of the in-competition testing programme. These comprised 457 urine and 188 blood tests.

"There were a further 418 blood screenings as part of the Athlete Biological Passport programme.

"These tests were analysed in the WADA-accredited laboratory in Moscow, under the supervision of independent observers from the WADA-accredited laboratories in Barcelona (ESP) and London (GBR). Every single sample collected during the Kazan 2015 FINA World Championships will be transferred and stored in the WADA-accredited laboratory in Barcelona (ESP)."

FINA President Dr Julio C Maglione said: "Of course this is a difficult time for sport, and as sports people we at FINA are shocked and saddened by WADA's Independent Commission report.

"FINA upholds a strong and unequivocal stance on the practice of doping as we aim to eradicate doping from Aquatics. FINA is committed to do everything necessary to become the world's cleanest sport."