The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) announced today that it may have to make a major cut to its doping control program due to an annual budget shortfall of over half a million Euro.
The AFLD said it will need to "very substantially" reduce its doping controls "on the order of 20 per cent" fewer in 2017 if no changes are made to its budget, which has been running €650,000 in the red every year. It has been leveraging assets to offset the deficit, but may not be able to continue the practice next year.
The AFLD has been responsible for carrying out doping controls at the Tour de France, among other sport competitions, together with the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation. This year the agency rolled out an improved test for EPO that was purported to detect microdosing.
Bruno Genevois, President of the Agency, said, "The AFLD has so far managed to cope despite the lack of resources and the quality of its action is highlighted internationally. But today, its capacity to fulfill its mission of public service is threatened.
"The State and the sports world are faced with a choice, even though Paris is bidding for the organization of the Olympic Games in 2024. A reduction in the number of checks would severely undermine the credibility of the anti-doping system in France. If nothing is done, it is nevertheless inevitable from 2017."
The AFLD was given a 9 per cent increase in its grant from the government, but the Ministry of Sports informed it that it would be offset by "a credit freeze".
"Of the € 8.5 million provided for in the draft budget bill, only € 7.8 million will actually be paid," the AFLD statement read.
It has been hoping to get a 0.1 percent tax on broadcasting rights for sports competitions in order to help fund its activities, but the AFLD has been unsuccessful in pushing it through parliament.