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LATEST: Bloem ban won't impact Boks

REACTION: The decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency to suspend Africa’s only accredited drug-testing laboratory will not prevent the Springboks from flying the South African flag at international events later this year.

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WADA confirmed this week it has suspended the South African Doping Control Laboratory in Bloemfontein for ‘up to six months’ – due to “multiple non-conformities” with international standards.

It raised the issue of WADA threatening action against SA’s national teams – including the Springboks – in October last year.

That stemmed from a report published on the WADA website that the Boks could be forced to compete under a neutral flag in the play-offs of the World Cup in October – the outcome of the meeting in September, which made it clear that the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport was ‘not compliant’ with WADA regulations, as a result of the South African government’s failure to amend its outdated drug-free sports act.

Zizi Kodwa, the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, at the time, instructed SAIDS to file an appeal against the WADA ruling.

The appeal staved off the consequences of the non-compliance as it applies to the flying of the South African flag at regional, continental and world championships and events.

WADA, on Wednesday, confirmed to @rugby365com that the ban slapped on the Bloemfontein laboratory and the issue faced by SAIDS are “unrelated”.

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The Bloemfontein lab had already seen some restrictions imposed in September last year, while other anti-doping activities were allowed to continue.

However, WADA said experts had advised the agency to suspend the facility’s accreditation due to “multiple non-conformities with the International Standard for Laboratories.”

WADA said the Bloemfontein laboratory had accepted the suspension, which took effect on March 1.

“The suspension prohibits the Laboratory from carrying out any anti-doping activities, including analyses of urine and blood samples, except analysis related to the Athlete Biological Passport haematological module,” WADA said in a statement.

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@rugby365com can also reveal that during the suspension the South African Rugby Union can send any tests to an alternative WADA-accredited laboratory for analysis.

This includes samples awaiting analysis, samples currently undergoing a confirmation procedure and any samples where an adverse analytical finding has been reported.

WADA said the laboratory would be allowed to apply for reinstatement once it had demonstrated all the identified “non-conformities” had been addressed.

CAS has confirmed the SAIDS appeal, but the outcome has not been made public.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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