Reedie apologises for Doha lab suspension ahead of Olympic Committee summit

IOC and WADA increasingly at odds after Russian doping scandal

Sir Craig Reedie, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, issued an apology over the suspension of the Doha laboratory that came just days before a meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in Qatar this week.

Reedie found himself ambushed by an incensed ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, who is also a member of the IOC and president of the Olympic Council of Asia, at the meeting.

Sheikh Ahmad criticized the timing of the Doha lab's suspension in the context of deeper frictions between the Olympic Movement and WADA over the handling of the Russian athletics doping scandal, according to InsidetheGames.com.

"There were questions of timing with the report," he said of the McLaren report that was issued just months before the Rio Olympic Games. "And now we see it again with Doha, not because of cheating but because of procedures. The decision was only made on November 7, but came here on the day of the General Assembly."

Reedie assured that the timing of the suspension was not intentional. "I apologise fully that this happened," he said.

"I decided that the process should be finished on Wednesday last week (November 9), I hoped it would be finished before the General Assembly in Doha."

The IOC is currently awaiting part two of the McLaren Report, which is expected to demonstrate that Russian engaged in state-sponsored doping. The report's release has been delayed until December.

"I am now worried that the McLaren Report will come out in the first week of December during the IOC EB (Executive Board), or the day afterwards to undermine decisions there," Sheikh Ahmad said, and then dug into Reedie's leadership at WADA, which is subject to election at the agency's meeting in Glasgow this weekend.

"We need a neutral chair and reform committee to go through all of the proposals and to work in the right direction in the future."

Reedie is a member of the IOC and until August was a vice president. He stepped down from that role following the Rio Olympic Games and the divisive doping scandal during which WADA called for a wholesale ban on Russian athletes at the Games. The IOC refused to comply, choosing only partial bans by the international sport federations.

Currently, WADA only gives recommendations for what kind of sanctions can be applied for anti-doping offences, but it is expected to push for powers to do its own sanctioning, authority it currently only has over its accredited laboratories, such as the one in Doha.

According to InsidetheGames, WADA will consider a graded sanctioning scheme at its Glasgow meeting, one that could be applied to its signatories for non-compliance with the code or interference or manipulation of the system as was detailed in the McLaren report.

Sheikh Ahmad objected to giving any such power to WADA. "I cannot imagine we will give more sanctioning power to WADA," he said. "It should be given to legal departments of a country. There is a serious problem. It cannot be solved until we have a small working group working together."

Spanish Olympic Committee chief Alejandro Blanco also criticized WADA, pondering "What is the objective of WADA? It must not be to tell sports institutions what they should be doing, like telling the IOC to sanction all Russian athletes. We have to ensure we are not affected by opinions which create a bad image of us in sport."

The friction at the ANOC meeting comes on the heels of an offer by the IOC to provide WADA an extra $500,000 provided Richard McLaren cooperates with the IOC's own investigations into Russian doping, according to InsideTheGames.com.

The IOC has two separate inquiries, one led by Ethics Commission vice-chair Guy Vanivet and another by Swiss IOC member Denis Oswald. Both are dependent upon the second part of the McLaren report, which has been delayed.

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