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Anti-Doping Lab Qatar

A Qatar-based laboratory that tests athletes for illegal drugs has been cleared to resume its work following a five-month suspension.

The Anti-Doping Lab Qatar (ADLQ) was ordered to halt urine and blood testing in November for failing to adhere to international quality standards.

However, in a statement yesterday, the World Anti-Doping Agency said it was confident that “the laboratory has corrected its deficiencies.”

It added that it would continue to monitor the lab to ensure the highest standards are followed.

The announcement comes just weeks before Qatar hosts the opening of the latest season of the IAAF Diamond League.

Level the playing field

Qatar’s lab opened in 2012 and provides drug testing to athletes in the Gulf and across West Asia during competitions, training and in the off-season.

Part of its mandate is to run educational programs for athletes and eventually establish a more level playing ground by working to eliminate the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

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Anti-Doping Lab Qatar

During its suspension, samples coming out of the lab had to be transported to another WADA-accredited facility.

Qatar’s lab was one of five WADA facilities to be temporarily closed last year.

And according to the Associated Press, six such facilities remain shut down for non-compliance issues. They are in Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Portugal, Madrid and South Africa.

Thoughts?

QFA

Saoud Al Mohannadi, vice chairman of Qatar Football Association

A senior Qatari football official has won his appeal against FIFA’s ethics committee, which had banned him from the sport for one year.

Saoud Al-Mohannadi was cleared of allegations that he failed to cooperate with the ethics committee on an undisclosed investigation.

In a statement, FIFA said that there was not enough proof to meet “the comfortable satisfaction of the members of the Appeal Committee” that Al-Mohannadi did anything wrong.

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FIFA headquarters

It added:

“Therefore, the one-year ban imposed by the adjudicatory chamber on Mr Al-Mohannadi, which entered into force on 16 November 2016, and the fine of CHF 20,000 have been lifted.”

The punishment was imposed against the Qatar Football Association (QFA) Vice-Chairman in November 2016.

The exact nature of any impropriety remains unknown, but FIFA previously said that it was not related to the 2022 World Cup.

QFA had maintained that the charges were “without legitimate basis.”

Elections

Al-Mohannadi, who is also vice president of the Asian Football Confederation, was also prohibited from running for a seat in FIFA’s newly reformed executive committee.

AFC

AFC Extraordinary Congress 2016

Displeased by this, Asia’s top football officials refused to participate in a planned ExCo election in September.

According to Al-Mohannadi’s lawyers, a new election is set for May. However, Reuters reports that he has missed the deadline to stand for these elections.

Thoughts?

QFA/Twitter

Qatar loses to Iran

Barring a miracle, Qatar’s national football team will not be playing in next year’s World Cup in Russia.

The team suffered a 1-0 loss to Iran last night in a home game defeat attended by thousands of fans.

This means Qatar is now at the very bottom of its six-team group, behind China and Syria. Iran meanwhile has moved to first place.

Reem Saad / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Only the top two teams in the group will automatically qualify for the 2018 tournament.

‘Bad situation’

Acknowledging the implications, Qatar Coach Jorge Fossati told AFP he hadn’t yet done the math, but “for sure we are back in a very bad, bad situation.”

Competing in Russia had been an important goal for Qatar, whose team has never qualified to play in the World Cup.

QFA

Qatar football coach Jorge Fossati

Qatar will automatically get a chance to participate in 2022 because the nation is hosting that tournament.

But in recent history, no team has ever not earned its first chance to compete beforehand.

Rollercoaster

The road to Russia has been a rollercoaster of a ride for the national team, which suffered three straight losses last fall (including to Iran in September).

Spirits were low then, but went up again after Qatar beat Syria in October.

QFA

Qatar and Syria match

Now however, with only four points and a handful of games to go, things look very dire.

The disappointment was palpable last night, when the home crowd booed Iran coach Carlos Queiroz off the field as he blew everyone a kiss, according to AFP.

Thoughts?