Article from nrk.no - Vebjørn Rodal commentary.
In a clever way, several Moroccan-born athletes have sneaked away from the doping testers. NRK's athletics expert Vebjørn Rodal asks that it be cleaned up.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has noticed an ominous pattern around the doping work in Morocco. Therefore, in April 2022, they launched "Operation Fennec".
The investigation has uncovered a loophole in the regulations that allowed athletes to sneak away from the doping testers. In a recent report, WADA tells how several Moroccan-born athletes with shared citizenship, who train in Morocco, cheat the system.
According to WADA's own rules on reporting obligations, all professional athletes must make themselves available to the controllers one hour between 06–23 every day.
This is done through the reporting system ADAMS, where the athletes also state, among other things, where they live and where they train. This makes it possible for the inspectors to appear and test the athletes outside of competition.
Morocco's constitution nevertheless prohibits the athletes from being tested after 21 in the evening. The athletes therefore stated that they could be tested after 21, and at the same time made it illegal for the doping testers to come to the door.
NRK has asked Morocco's athletics association for a comment on the case, so far without a response.
- Can't have it like that
- It may seem that the ethical standard is not at the level we want.
That's what NRK's athletics expert Vebjørn Rodal says after WADA's disclosure. He points out that several North African countries have a messy doping history, with repeated cases of positive tests.
In 2020, Morocco was placed on the Athletics Integrity Unit's (AIU) red list of countries with the highest risk of doping.
WADA has discovered that three athletes operate in a way described in the report.
For Rodal, it seems obvious that they have deliberately worked to avoid testing, and asks that it be cleaned up immediately.
- They have to plug this hole. We can't have it like that. Then you may have to tighten up and change the time for when you can test, so that you circumvent the law.
- And if you deliberately make it unavailable for testing, you must be denied a start. Even if it depends on a specific Moroccan rule, says Rodal.
Unlucky with suspicion:
The names of the athletes in WADA's report are anonymised as cases may be brought against them, it is stated.
WADA CEO: Günter Younger.
In addition to sneaking away via the reporting obligation, the athletes had a tendency to stay in hard-to-reach places, high up in the Moroccan mountains.
WADA has had a serious talk with the national anti-doping authorities in the country (AMAD), which were only established in January 2021.
- We have spoken with the relevant parties, and agreed that better communication and cooperation is necessary to improve testing outside of competition in Morocco, says WADA's director of investigations Günter Younger in a press release.
AMAD has written a proposal for a change in the law, so that Morocco's laws correspond to WADA's in the future.