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Rio Drug Lab Forced To Suspend Testing Weeks Before Olympics

The World Anti-Doping Agency did not give a reason for the suspension, which means blood samples will have to be flown to another country for testing.

Posted on June 24, 2016, at 2:49 p.m. ET

Ricardo Moraes / Reuters

A woman works at the Brazilian Laboratory of Doping Control.

Rio de Janeiro's accredited anti-doping laboratory has been suspended weeks before the Olympic Games open.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced the suspension on Friday, citing "non-conformity with the International Standard for Laboratories," but did not elaborate.

The suspension is just the latest setback for Brazil ahead of the Aug. 5 Summer Games as the government grapples with deep political turmoil and the ongoing Zika health crisis.

Sergio Moraes / Reuters

The WADA suspension took effect on Wednesday when the Laboratory was notified and prohibits anti-doping analyses on urine and blood samples.

“Athletes can have confidence that the suspension will only be lifted by WADA when the laboratory is operating optimally; and that, the best solution will be put in place to ensure that sample analysis for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games is robust," Olivier Niggli, WADA's incoming director general, said in a statement.

If the issue is not resolved before the Olympics open, all testing will have to be conducted at a certified lab in an other country, much like what was done for World Cup blood samples.

Other accredited labs are located in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City in the U.S.; Bogota, Colombia; Havana, Cuba; and Mexico City.

The decision can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days of being notified.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.