Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy says his organisation would have no problems releasing Irish athletes’ samples to the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) if they were ever requested.
The UK Anti-Doping Association (UKAD) has come under scrutiny for saying it would not release any of Mo Farah’s urine and blood samples if WADA requests them as part of their investigation into his disgraced former coach Alberto Salazar.
Farah has never failed a drugs test and the chief executive of UKAD Nicole Sapstead said she would block the release of any of their samples unless there was “credible evidence” to suggest they contained banned substances.
UKAD has already refused a request to hand over some of Farah’s tests to the the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation into Salazar, who has lodged an appeal against the four-year ban he received last winter.
“The reason we put samples into storage is to enable us to re-test when the science moves along,” Sapstead said.
“Every time we open a sample up to look at something, we lose the ability to maybe look for something else, which is why, if somebody wants to reanalyse a sample, it needs to be with foundation.”
Sport Ireland has been critical of WADA in the past, especially in relation to its handling of Russia’s systematic doping regime.
But Treacy was unequivocal on this issue yesterday, saying: “I can see the issue UK Sport have in terms of samples but, at the same time, I think that if WADA is looking for something they should get it. We look to WADA and expect high standards of them. Transparency is a big part of this and if we were in that situation and WADA asked us for samples, we would certainly provide them.”
Sapstead has likened such requests, without evidence of doping, to someone searching a handbag without any evidence of theft.
Britain’s anti-doping agency is insistent that retesting risks degrading the samples which are stored for up to 10 years for possible-re-testing.
“If any partner comes forward and says ‘I have evidence to suggest this might be present in these athletes and this is part of an ongoing investigation’ I’ll be the first one to say ‘help yourself. How can we help you?’ Sapstead said.
“But I’m not going to risk samples that we hold in storage that could enable us to re-test when the science moves along.”