The World Anti-Doping Agency lifted the suspension of the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory, which will soon move to be enlarged and backed by a research institute.
The world | 22.12.2017 at 06:51 • Updated 22.12.2017 at 07:30 | By Clément Guillou
The French Agency for Combating doping (AFLD) will spend the holidays in peace: as she expected, the suspension of her laboratory analyzes , located in Châtenay-Malabry (Hauts-de-Seine), was lifted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
AFLD announced it Thursday, December 21 in the evening, without expect the AMA press release, just under three months after its suspension. WADA had sanctioned the French laboratory for the first time in its history after traces of steroids were found by mistake in two sportsmen. Their samples had actually been polluted by another previously passed on the robot, that the automatic rinsing was not enough to clean .
Corrective measures had been immediately applied by the laboratory and the AFLD had deemed its suspension severe. She also deplored the delays in the WADA audit, which finally took place on 4 and 5 December: two members of the World Agency and two directors of European anti-doping laboratories came to Châtenay-Malabry and found , according to the AFLD, the respect of their standards and the application of the measures.
“They realize that the problems have been corrected, that there is no critical difference that justifies the suspension of the laboratory” , explains the general secretary of the AFLD, Mathieu Teoran. WADA only asked Châtenay-Malabry to take a few “Documentary measures” – while laboratory technicians already feel crumble under administrative tasks.
A cost of 600 000 euros
During all this time, the samples taken by the AFLD had to be shipped to foreign laboratories and all customers who trusted the French laboratory enriched other structures. The cost of this suspension is estimated at approximately 600,000 euros by AFLD, the amount compensated by the Ministry of Sports.
Next week, the lab will begin to receive new samples, which will be analyzed at the beginning of the 2018 school year.
The lifting of this suspension does not solve all the problems of a laboratory that was once at the forefront of the fight against doping and has demoted in the international hierarchy.
Its facilities were dilapidated until important works (sealing, in particular) completed at the end of the year. Some machines have to be replaced and the laboratory has not had any sustainable management since the death of Professor Jacques de Ceaurriz in 2010. This slowed down its research activity until the appointment in December 2016 of a recognized specialist, Michel Audran.
A “brand new” laboratory for Paris 2024
Appointed in July 2017, the new president of the AFLD, Dominique Laurent, put the laboratory at the top of his priorities and intends in deliver a ” brand new ” before Olympic Games from 2024 to Paris.
Today, the laboratory processes 13,000 samples per year; an insurmountable ceiling considering current facilities. The Agency sets a goal of 15,000 samples in the future laboratory, the equivalent of the largest laboratories in the world.
“The next step is relocation , announce at World M me Laurent, president of the AFLD since July 2017. We are aware that we can hardly go beyond, because the premises do not lend themselves to it. ”
AFLD is currently looking for premises in renovate in the Paris region, with a major constraint: that they be located next to a scientific research institute with which the laboratory will be associated. Châtenay-Malabry was one of the few laboratories not to be backed by a university. “Backing it up with a research structure will help exit a job Accelerated routine lead to a more intense research activity » , says Dominique Laurent.
” We have to make better and we want to do better for to prepare the Paris Olympics 2024. They represent a large amount of analysis to be done in a very short time, and WADA wants us to be you ” continues the State Councilor.
No organic separation with AFLD
Witnessing the lack of confidence that the laboratory of Châtenay-Malabry had hitherto inspired, the Paris 2024 bid team was considering in its international Olympic Games (IOC) only part of the samples are analyzed by the French laboratory. A choice challenged by the AFLD, for whom the renovation and the move of the laboratory will allow to assume all the controls.
Another request from the AMA will not be satisfied in the short term: the rupture of the statutory link between the laboratory and the AFLD, which theoretically opens the door to manipulations such as those observed in Russia .
“Currently, there is a functional separation, there is no interference or power policy nor of the Agency in the work of analysis , says Dominique Laurent. WADA wants organic separation, but our concern is to renovate it. It is a bit premature to release the laboratory in the face of this challenge, but we are not closed to the idea that it will be done afterwards. ”
The French laboratory must also, by the OJ 2024, find a new director, Michel Audran (68) having accepted only a short-term mission, probably until the end of 2019. His successor should be chosen not only by the College of the Agency but by a scientific selection committee “More open to international concerns” explains Dominique Laurent.