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Rio 2016: WADA chief warns Brazil over Olympic construction delays

By Alex Thomas and Matt Knight, CNN
updated 11:57 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
  • President of World Anti-Doping Agency raises concerns over Rio 2016 testing
  • Rio lab lost WADA accreditation last August for being inefficient says Craig Reedie
  • Reedie calls on Brazil's government to provide proper funding for drug-testing facility
  • Brazil 2016 organizers pumping in extra $10.8 billion for infrastructure projects

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(CNN) -- Conducting effective drug testing on site at the 2016 Olympic Games will be hard to implement if construction delays in Rio de Janeiro continue, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has warned.

Craig Reedie, who replaced John Fahey as WADA president in January, told CNN that repeating the stringency and efficiency of the London 2012 Games will be a real challenge.

"It's going to be difficult to replicate in Rio the system that was put in place with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UK Anti-Doping," Reedie told CNN World Sport.

"(The facility and systems) worked beautifully and that's because the national anti-doping organization was very, very good. In Rio, we couldn't say that at the moment ... they don't have a laboratory. Their laboratory lost its accreditation because clearly it was inefficient."

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WADA suspended testing at the Brazilian city's LADETEC laboratory last August after it failed to meet the organization's International Standard for Laboratories (ISL).

The implications of that suspension have already been felt by football's world governing body FIFA which, as a result, will be transporting players' blood and urine samples to Lausanne in Switzerland during the World Cup which starts in Sao Paulo on June 12.

Construction blunders and delays have blighted the buildup to football's showpiece, while concerns over Rio's Olympic facilities are mounting by the day -- a two-week strike over pay and conditions by more than 2,000 Olympic Park workers ended Thursday.

Ongoing concerns have prompted the IOC to agree to increase the frequency of visits -- led by IOC Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli -- and establish dedicated task forces.

Rio organizers announced Wednesday that Brazil will spend 24.1 billion reais ($10.8 billion) on infrastructure projects to ensure the Games are delivered on time.

This is a government problem. It's up to them to develop and fund their National Anti-Doping Organization and their laboratory ..."
WADA chief, Craig Reedie

Earlier in the week, Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes said he looked forward to Felli's visit saying that there was "no reason for concern" and that the "Olympic Park has nothing delayed."

Reedie did not write off the city's prospects of delivering first class drug-testing facilities on time, pointing to the fact that the suspended organization is currently being re-established and a new building is nearing completion.

But more needs to be done, he said.

"Too often they think of the building being the important thing. Well that's only one thing," said the former chairman of the British Olympic Association.

"You actually need to put the proper equipment in it and then above all you need to put the proper people in it. And you then have to work up the proper standards so you can get it accredited again."

LADETEC has yet to respond to CNN's request for comment.

Reedie isn't pushing the panic button just yet, but called on Brazil's lawmakers to take responsibility.

"This isn't really an organizing committee problem. This is a government problem," he said.

"It's up to them to develop and fund their national anti-doping organization and their laboratory. If they do that, yes it can be done.

"If they don't and it slips, it's a problem."

Read more: FIFA's long haul anti-doping plan

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